Obama invites Pakistan’s PM to visit White House

Obama invites Pakistan’s PM to visit White House
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President Obama is inviting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit the White House on Oct. 22.

The invitation was delivered by Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, who wrapped up a two-day trip to Pakistan to discuss security and diplomatic issues on Sunday.

Rice “commended Pakistan’s support for recent talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, underscored the U.S. commitment to an Afghan-led peace process and urged Pakistan to intensify its efforts to counter terrorist sanctuaries inside its borders in order to promote regional peace and stability,” the White House said in a statement.

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She extended an invitation for Sharif to visit Washington, the White House added, “to further strengthen the U.S.-Pakistani relationship.”

Security concerns have long held together the U.S. and Pakistan, a nuclear power, but mutual distrust has frayed that connection in recent years.

During her visit this weekend, Rice met with Sharif, his national security and foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz; Gen. Raheel Sharif, the army's chief of staff; and other officials, the White House said.

“They discussed how the United States and Pakistan can continue to work together on a range of regional and global issues,” the White House added.

Pakistani officials, meanwhile, warned Rice about the U.S.’s possible suspension of $300 million in support money meant to reimburse Pakistan for its efforts to combat regional violence that destabilizes neighboring Afghanistan, according to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

The next batch of support money is contingent on the Pentagon’s certification that Pakistan has disrupted an insurgent group known as the Haqqani network in the mountainous North Waziristan part of the country, which lies on the Afghan border. The Defense Department has yet to make that certification.

The Haqqani network is an ally of the Taliban and was described in 2011 by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen as being “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s military intelligence.