Aid cut improved ties with Pakistan: Trump


Islamabad/Washington, Aug 20 (IANS): US President Donald Trump has said that Washingtons ties with Pakistan have improved since he cut $1.3 billion in security assistance to Islamabad, rejecting the suggestion that aid was an effective foreign policy tool.

Talking to mediapersons at his golf resort in New Jersey on Sunday evening, the US President also recalled his July 22 meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, pointing out that it was "a very good" meeting, Dawn news reported on Tuesday.

Trump, who hosted Khan at the White House, has twice referred to this July 22, indicating that it has created an opportunity for rebuilding a once close relationship between the countries.

"So, what happened: I cut back $1.3 billion. We have a better relationship now," he said, arguing that foreign aid does not help build a relationship.

"I also cut it back on the Palestinians because they speak very badly about our country," he said. "So, I cut it back on the Palestinians. We were paying $500 billion a year, and now we're paying nothing," he added.

President Trump announced last year that $1.3 billion aid to Pakistan would remain suspended until Islamabad removed all alleged terrorist safe havens from its territory.

On Sunday, a reporter reminded Trump that he had reduced about $4 billion of foreign aid in his latest budget as well and asked if he believed restoring aid would make America safer.

"I don't think so. No, I don't think so. And if I thought it would, I'd probably do it.

"I cut back $1.3 billion a year to Pakistan. When I cut it back, I have a better relationship with - as you know, we have a great relationship," Trump said.

Referring to his meeting with Khan, the US leader added: "Prime Minister came in. We have a great relationship with Pakistan now. We had a really good meeting."

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