Amid tensions, Trump aide says US seeking 'new relationship' with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Feb 27 (Reuters) - A senior aide to U.S. President Donald Trump said during a visit to Pakistan that Washington wants a "new relationship" with Islamabad, the U.S. embassy said on Tuesday, amid worsening ties between the two nations.

Lisa Curtis, deputy assistant to the U.S. president, also voiced U.S. concerns about Pakistan's "deficiencies" in preventing terrorist-financing during her two-day trip to the nuclear-armed South Asian nation.

Relations between the allies plummeted again last week when Washington persuaded member states of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to put Pakistan back on the watchlist of nations with inadequate terrorist financing or money laundering controls.

The U.S. move infuriated Islamabad amid fears it could hurt the fragile economy of Pakistan, whose de facto finance minister accused Washington of trying to "embarrass" his country.

RELATED: A look back at a recent Pakistan suicide bombing

14 PHOTOS
Pakistan suicide bombing
See Gallery
Pakistan suicide bombing
TOPSHOT - EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Pakistani Christians assist an injured worshipper after suicide bombers attacked a Methodist Church in Quetta on December 17, 2017. At least eight people were killed and 15 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. / AFP PHOTO / A. CALVIN (Photo credit should read A. CALVIN/AFP/Getty Images)
QUETTA, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 17: Pakistan security forces take measures after a suicide attack at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan on December 17, 2017. At least eight people including a woman were killed in blast and 42 others injured. (Photo by Mazhar Chandio/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pakistani Christians are evacuated by security personnel from a Methodist church after a suicide bomber attack during a Sunday service in Quetta on December 17, 2017. At least five people were killed and 15 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. The attack took place at the Methodist Church in the restive southwestern city of Quetta in Balochistan province. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Pakistani Christians carry an injured worshipper after suicide bombers attacked a Methodist Church in Quetta on December 17, 2017. At least eight people were killed and 15 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. / AFP PHOTO / A. CALVIN (Photo credit should read A. CALVIN/AFP/Getty Images)
QUETTA, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 17: [EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content] A medical staff treats a man injured in a suicide attack at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan on December 17, 2017. At least eight people including a woman were killed in blast and 44 others injured. (Photo by Mazhar Chandio/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pakistani Christians protest after a suicide bombers attacked a Methodist church during a Sunday service in Quetta on December 17, 2017. At least eight people were killed and 30 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. / AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI (Photo credit should read ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
QUETTA, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 17: A medical staff treats a woman, injured in a suicide attack at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, as her relatives try to calm her down in Quetta, Pakistan on December 17, 2017. At least eight people including a woman were killed in blast and 44 others injured. (Photo by Mazhar Chandio/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pakistani security personnel take position after suicide bombers attacked a Methodist church during a Sunday service in Quetta on December 17, 2017. At least five people were killed and 15 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. The attack took place at the Methodist Church in the restive southwestern city of Quetta in Balochistan province. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Pakistani security personnel rescue an injured woman after suicide bombers attacked a Methodist church during a Sunday service in Quetta on December 17 2017. At least five people were killed and 15 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. The attack took place at the Methodist Church in the restive southwestern city of Quetta in Balochistan province. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Pakistani security personnel and volunteers shift the body of a victim after suicide bombers attacked a Methodist Church in Quetta on December 17, 2017. At least eight people were killed and 15 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. / AFP PHOTO / A. CALVIN (Photo credit should read A. CALVIN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Pakistani security personnel carry the body of a victim after suicide bombers attacked a Methodist Church in Quetta on December 17, 2017. At least eight people were killed and 15 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. / AFP PHOTO / A. CALVIN (Photo credit should read A. CALVIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives shift an injured victim after suicide bombers attacked a Methodist church during a Sunday service in Quetta on December 17 2017. At least eight people were killed and 30 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
QUETTA, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 17: Dead bodies of a bomb attack victims are taken to a hospital with ambulances after a suicide attack at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan on December 17, 2017. At least eight people including a woman were killed in blast and 42 others injured. (Photo by Mazhar Chandio/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pakistani Christians offer prayers during a mass on the last Sunday before Christmas at the Cathedral in Lahore on December 17, 2017. At least eight people were killed and 30 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in the Pakistani city of Quetta, during a service on December 17, just over a week before Christmas, police said. / AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI (Photo credit should read ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Ms. Curtis said that the United States seeks to move toward a new relationship with Pakistan, based on a shared commitment to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability," the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

This new relationship would also be based on a "shared vision of a peaceful future for Afghanistan," the embassy added.

Tensions with historic ally Washington have pushed Pakistan further into the arms of China, officials and analysts say. Closer diplomatic and military ties between Beijing and Islamabad have come at a time when China is helping Pakistan's economy grow by investing billions in infrastructure projects.

The United States and Pakistan have clashed over militants waging war in Afghanistan, with Washington accusing Islamabad of providing safe havens to the Afghan Taliban and their affiliate, the Haqqani network. Pakistan denies helping the militants, saying the Islamist fighters are mostly across the border.

"Ms. Curtis urged the government of Pakistan to address the continuing presence of the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups within its territory," the embassy added.

The Trump administration suspended about $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan in January, days after Trump tweeted that Pakistan has given nothing but "lies and deceit" in return for generous aid.

Islamabad responded that it doesn't need Washington's money but wants, instead, respect for the vast sacrifices it has made in the war on terror.

Curtis, who is also the U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for South and Central Asia, also raised Washington's worries about gaps in Pakistan's anti-terrorist financing controls, a frequent criticism by Western powers who say not enough is done to curb fund-raising by militants.

The U.S. motion to place Pakistan on the FATF "grey list" of nations with weak terrorist-financing controls was co-sponsored by Britain, Germany and France. Only Turkey opposed the U.S. motion at a Paris meeting of nearly 40 member states. (Reporting by Drazen Jorgic)

Read Full Story