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Pakistan Army warns US against ‘unilateral action’

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Islamabad, Dec 29: The Pakistan Army has warned the US against “unilateral action”, saying that despite its desire for cooperation on Afghanistan, there could be no compromise on national respect and sovereignty, the media reported on Friday.

“The armed forces are working with friends and want to continue doing so, but there can be no compromise on our national honour. We do not want a conflict with our friends, but will ensure the security of Pakistan,” military spokesman Major General Asif Gha­foor said on Thursday, recalling that Islamabad was being threatened with “unilateral action” by Washington.

This is perhaps the strongest-ever reaction from Islamabad since US functionaries and statements recently began alluding to the possibility of unilateral action, amidst an ongoing row over alleged terrorist sanctuaries, reports Dawn news.

Earlier this month, CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned the US would do everything it could to ensure the elimination of “terrorist safe havens” in Pakistan.

The spokesman maintained that Pakistan would have to stand united in the face of possible unilateral action, saying such challenges could only be tackled through unity.

“Let it be known to all misadventure seekers and probably naïve thinkers that notwithstanding any temporary domestic differences, when it comes to security of our beloved Pakistan, we are all one,” he added.

Ghafoor said the “unfounded” US and Afghan narrative had lately acquired a “threatening” tone.

He also listed Pakistan’s expectations from the US: ending coercion, engagement based on trust and cooperation, repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, checking the Indian role in Afghanistan, and getting New Delhi to stop ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

IANS

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US, Russia diplomats discuss Helsinki meeting, ties

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Washington, July 23 (IANS) The US Department of State has said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to discuss Helsinki meeting fruits and issues over bilateral and regional concerns.

According to a statement issued by State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on Sunday, the phone conversation took place on Saturday when the two foreign ministers discussed a broad range of issues, “some of which were following up from the meeting between President Trump and President Putin” in Finland on July 16, Xinhua reported.

Among the topics discussed was the situation in Syria.

The two also discussed how to implement ideas on counterterrorism process coordination and the mutual goal of establishing business-to-business dialogue between private, non-governmentally controlled entities in the two countries, another deliverable of the Trump-Putin meeting.

Pompeo and Lavrov also discussed “the need for Russia to provide equal diplomatic access to the US, at a level that is fair and reciprocal”.

US White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said Thursday that Putin will be invited to Washington in the autumn, and “those discussions are already underway”.

Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said on Friday in response that that his country is open to a new meeting between the two presidents.

Trump has been widely attacked after his meeting with Putin on July 16, due to his reconciliatory remarks that many saw as a sign to side with Moscow against US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 US elections.

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Philippines Rains: Over 700,000 affected, 5 dead

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Manila, July 22 : At least five people have died and more than 700,000 have been affected due to days of torrential rains that have lashed the Philippines and have caused dams and waterways in Northern and Central Luzon, as well as Metro Manila to overflow.

 

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said it had received reports that a resident of Luisa Pelew died in a landslide while a resident of Negros Oriental Angelito Jipulan drowned, reports Xinhua news agency.

Police have also reported at least three more deaths, including a Negros Occidental resident who reportedly drowned, and two children from Antique province whose house was buried by a landslide.

The NDRRMC said the affected population of 158,509 families or 728,003 persons were from 585 villages in the National Capital Region (NCR) and several provinces in the Philippine.

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Exempt S. Korean vehicles from new tariffs: Seoul to Washington

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Seoul, July 22 :South Korea has asked the US to exempt its vehicles from the new 25 per cent tariffs Washington is planning to impose on imported vehicles and spare parts, officials said on Sunday.

South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon made the request to his US counterpart Steve Mnuchin in a meeting on Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Efe news agency reported.

According to an official statement by the finance ministry, Kim asked Mnuchin that South Korean vehicles be excluded from the new tariffs the White House is planning to impose on national security grounds.

The South Korean official reminded his US colleague of the positive impact the Asian country’s automobile industry has had on employment and investments in the US.

Currently, South Korean vehicles entering the US market are not subject to import tariffs under the free trade agreement signed by both countries in 2012.(IANS)

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