FM Qureshi pays condolence visit to Oman

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets with Oman's new ruler Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said in Muscat on Jan. 14, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Foreign Office)
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Updated 14 January 2020

FM Qureshi pays condolence visit to Oman

  • Oman’s Sultan Qaboos died on Friday
  • Qureshi met with new Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi paid a visit to Oman to express condolences over the death of the sultanate’s long-time ruler Qaboos bin Said Al-Said.

The minister met with the country’s new leader, Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, in the sultanate’s capital of Muscat on Tuesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

On behalf of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Qureshi expressed condolences to the Omani government and people. According to the statement, he said that Qaboos was a visionary leader who transformed the country and made positive contributions to advancing the development of Pakistan-Oman ties.

He also expressed hope that under the new leadership the bilateral relations will further develop.

Sultan Qaboos died on Friday at the age of 79, after a prolonged illness.

His successor was sworn in on Saturday and promised to uphold Qaboos’s policies.

Alice Wells in Pakistan to discuss Afghan peace, regional security

Updated 19 January 2020

Alice Wells in Pakistan to discuss Afghan peace, regional security

  • The US deputy secretary of state for South and Central Asia visited Sri Lanka and India prior to her arrival
  • On Friday, FM Qureshi reminded Washington of Pakistan's help in Afghan peace process and asked for help in FATF issue

ISLAMABAD: Alice G. Wells, chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs, arrived in Islamabad on Sunday on a four-day visit centered on discussions regarding the peace process in Afghanistan, bilateral and regional issues, the US embassy in Islamabad said in a statement on Sunday.
Wells — US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs — was received at the airport by foreign office and US embassy officials. She has been on a tour of South Asia since Jan. 13 and has been to Sri Lanka and India prior to her arrival in Pakistan.
Wells’ visit to Islamabad comes immediately after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi concluded his trip to the US where he interacted with senior United Nations and American officials in New York and Washington. 
According to Amir Rana, director of prominent Islamabad-based think tank, Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, the Afghan peace deal will be top of Wells’ agenda during her Pakistan tour.
Pakistan’s role in recent developments in the Middle East has positioned it as “an effective backdoor communication channel between Iran and the United States,” he added. 
In a news briefing in Washington on Friday, Qureshi strongly urged the US to help get Pakistan off the grey-list of global anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at a decisive meeting in Beijing next month. A downgrade from the grey-list could result in crippling economic sanctions.
During the briefing, Qureshi said Pakistan had fulfilled its commitments to the US on facilitating the Afghanistan peace process, brought the Taliban to the negotiating table and assisted in releasing western hostages from insurgents — and had met FATF’s demands. 
The foreign minister reminded Washington: “Pakistan fulfilled your expectations. Now, we too had some expectations, what have you done (for us)?”— hinting Pakistan expected the US would help Islamabad in turn.
The US has consistently enlisted Pakistan’s help in facilitating rocky US-Taliban negotiations, which are reported to be inching near a peace deal this month.
“This is a sequel to Foreign Minister Qureshi’s visit, to coordinate the expected peace deal signing with the Taliban and potential US troops’ pullout from Afghanistan,” leading security analyst, Imtiaz Gul, told Arab News. 
Political expert Taimur Shamil told Arab News: “FATF is a tool to politically pressure Pakistan to do America’s bidding in Afghanistan. It... will likely continue till the Afghan issue is resolved.” 
Wells is expected to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during her visit, as well as foreign minister Qureshi.
Her last visit to Pakistan was in August last year.