26 August 2019

Lindsey Graham urges Trump to meet Pakistan PM Khan

KONFRONTASI-Senior US Senator Lindsey Graham has urged President Donald Trump to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as intense contacts between the two countries continue over negotiations to end the 17-year war with the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Graham spoke to reporters in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Sunday, capping off days of meetings that saw the top US envoy on Afghan reconciliation and its commander of military forces in the region also visit the South Asian country.

"I've seen things change here and all in a positive direction," said Graham, a senior member of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee who has visited Pakistan dozens of times in recent years.

Khan, who came to power after a general election last year, has long stated his support for a peace agreement in Afghanistan to end hostilities there.

Trump would be "far more enthusiastic about the region than he is today" if he met Khan, said Graham, who held talks with the prime minister earlier on Sunday.

"With Prime Minister Khan we have a unique opportunity to change our relationship," he said.

The relationship, he said, was previously "transactional", but should be replaced with a "strategic partnership".

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