Pakistan, US try to soothe tensions over aid suspension

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The statement further added that the top US General also conveyed COAS that US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in US view, use Pakistan's soil against Afghanistan.

Pakistan responded to Trump's accusations by convening a National Security Committee meeting, which was attended by Pakistan's prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Bajwa.

The Pakistani army said in a statement Friday that the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, said in a telephone conversationwith Pakistan's chief of army staff that the "ongoing turbulence" in the countries' relationship was "a temporary phase".

The Pakistani military in a statement said Gen. Votel apprised COAS about the United States decision regarding Security Assistance and Coalition Support Fund and said that United States values Pakistan's role towards war on terror and expected that on-going turbulence remains a temporary phase.

Pakistan has been a key ally of the United States in war on terror since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the USA, but relations have been strained between the two sides since Trump accused Islamabad of harboring terrorists.

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The Pakistani military said both Votel and an unnamed US senator phoned Bajwa to discuss security cooperation "over the week".

Votel also told Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa that the USA was "not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan", but seeking its cooperation to capture militants based on Pakistani soil who carry out attacks in Afghanistan, the Pakistani statement said. "We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward", Thomas told AFP.

The announcement followed President Donald Trump's surprising New Year's day tweet, in which he said Washington had "foolishly" given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over the past 15 years and in return received "deceit and lies". The tensions resulted in suspension of military assistance to Pakistan, announced by Trump led USA administration on January 5. He added that US s "didn't disown Trump's tweets, but they also found it tough to explain how they would translate [into] policymaking".

For his part Bajwa told Votel that the "entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed" over the US statements, but insisted Pakistan would continue to support peace efforts in the region despite being made a "scapegoat".

"We've only suspended the aid; we have not reallocated the money", Goldstein said.

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