Fresh Pakistan-US diplomatic squabble on whether Mike Pompeo did or didn't discuss terror with Imran Khan

The US said Pompeo raised the issue of Islamabad taking "decisive action" on terrorists operating in Pakistan. Pakistan says the issue never came up in Pompeo's call with new PM Imran Khan. Later, the US said it stands by its statement that terror was discussed

NEW DELHI: A fresh diplomatic squabble may be under way between the US and Pakistan - the first of the new Imran Khan government - with the two countries disagreeing about whether terrorism was discussed or not in a call between Khan and the US secretary of state on Thursday.

When asked at a press conference later in the day whether the US was sure terror was discussed, a US state department spokeswoman firmly said Washington stands by its earlier statement.

First, the US state department issued a 'readout' of what was discussed between Khan and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. The US readout said Pompeo raised the issue of Islamabad taking "decisive action" on terrorists operating in Pakistan.

"Secretary Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process," said US state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on the department website.

"Wrong", said Pakistan's foreign office.

"Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Dept on today's phone call btwn PM Khan & Sec Pompeo. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This shd be immediately corrected," tweeted Pakistan's foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal.

Later on Thursday, at a daily press briefing the US state department holds, Nauert was asked about whether the US would "correct" its readout on the Khan-Pompeo conversation.

"We stand by our readout. I don't necessarily read an entire readout, word-for-word, for you here at the podium," said Nauert to a media question.

Then she was asked how the Pakistanis could have got it so wrong if the US says it did indeed discus terror.

"I'm not going to speculate, okay...And I can't speak on their behalf. I can only say we stand by our readout. They're an important partner. The secretary had a good call with the new prime minister and we look forward to having a good relationship with them in the future," said Nauert.

And then she reiterated, "We stand by our readout"

Pompeo is likely to visit Islamabad in the first week of September for consultations with PM Imran Khan, reported newspaper Dawn, earlier. The US official is expected in Islamabad on September 5 and will likely be the first foreign dignitary to meet the newly elected Prime Minister.

Pompeo is expected to focus on efforts to revive the close ties the two nations once had and discuss Pakistan's support for a US-led move to take forward the Afghan peace process.