Pakistan Expresses Concern after White House Comment on Safe Havens
Pakistan's defense minister is expressing concern about a White House statement saying the U.S. military has been given authority to eliminate militant safe havens in Pakistan.
The White House statement was published within a late Tuesday email to the press that listed Donald Trump's foreign policy accomplishments during his first year as president.
In an interview with VOA's Urdu Service, Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said he takes the statement "very seriously."
"We want to make it clear to the U.S. that Pakistan is a sovereign country and its sovereignty must be respected," Dastgir said. "Instead of using these words, which can be interpreted in any way, Pakistan should be consulted," he added. "Statements like this are taking us away from peace in Afghanistan."
At a Thursday Pentagon press briefing, a senior official said the U.S. military doesn't "contemplate military operations inside Pakistan."
Pakistan-U.S. relations have deteriorated rapidly. Last month the Trump administration cut nearly all security aid to Islamabad until the country takes stronger steps to deal with terrorist networks operating in its territory.
Trump Warns Republicans against Labeling Young Undocumented Immigrants as 'Dreamers'
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Republican lawmakers Thursday against labeling hundreds of thousands of young immigrants facing deportation as "dreamers."
"Some people call it Dreamers, it's not Dreamers. Don't fall into that trap," Trump told the Republicans at a political party retreat at a West Virginia resort. "We have dreamers in this country, too. We can't forget our dreamers."
Trump said he hopes Congress will reach an agreement to protect nearly 2 million young immigrants from being deported, but accused Democrats of politicizing contentious immigration issues while not seriously trying to resolve them.
Trump urged the Republicans to "pass immigration reform that protects our country, defends our borders and modernizes our immigration rules to serve the needs of American workers and of American families. We want an immigration policy that's fair, equitable, that's going to protect our people."
He said that if Democrats do not agree in ongoing negotiations to immigration reforms, then Republicans need to elect more of their party members to increase the size of the majority blocs they now have in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
The immigration debate is linked to ongoing discussions between Congress and the White House about funding for government agencies, with a current stopgap spending measure expiring in a week, on February 9. The immigration issue was at the center of a funding dispute that led last month to a three-day, partial shutdown of government agencies.