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Pak-US ties set to take new turn: Qureshi

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Pakistan’s relations with the US are set to take a new turn due to Islamabad’s behind-the-scenes role in facilitating the US-Taliban peace talks to end the 17-year-old brutal war in Afghanistan, according to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Speaking to the media at an event on Sunday, Qureshi said positive results were expected from the US-Taliban peace talks in Doha facilitated by Pakistan.

He said because the Financial Action Task Force [FATF] had placed Pakistan in the greylist for not doing enough to combat terrorism and terror financing, Washington’s relationship with Islamabad was not “that great”.

In June last year, the FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Paris-based global body working to curb terrorism financing and money laundering have asked Pakistan to reassess the operation of banned terrorist outfits in the country.

“But, because of our successful foreign policy, ties between both countries are improving,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

“Our relations with the US are going to take a new turn. US-Taliban peace dialogues are underway in Doha and positive results are expected,” he said, attributed this to Pakistan’s behind-the-scenes role in facilitating the US-Taliban peace talks.

US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in order to reach a settlement to end the Aghan war, America’s longest.

Pakistan has been playing a crucial role in the process and last year released senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who led a high-level Taliban team in marathon meetings with a high-powered American delegation led by Khalilzad in Doha.

About the recent tensions with India, Qureshi said Pakistan wanted peace in the region but will not “compromise” on Kashmir.

Qureshi said Russia’s role to help de-escalate the rising tensions following the Pulwama attack which killed 40 CRPF soldiers cannot be ignored.

“Russia categorically announced it is ready to play a role to maintain peace in the region,” he said.

Qureshi also said Saudi Arabia will establish a big oil refinery in Gwadar at a cost of USD 10 billion while it has provided oil worth USD 9.6 billion.

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