ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said Islamabad welcomes U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s overtures, saying Trump told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan is “amazing” and its citizens are “one of the most intelligent people.”
Trump’s transition team offered few details about the Wednesday conversation with Sharif. A three-sentence statement called the conversation “productive” and said Trump is “looking forward to a lasting and strong personal relationship with Prime Minister Sharif.”
But a statement from the Pakistani government quoted Trump at length as saying that he would “love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people.”
It said Trump asked Sharif to convey his message to the Pakistani people that “they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people.”
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Trump, according to the Pakistani government statement, also told Sharif that he was looking forward to seeing him soon.
“As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people,” it quoted Trump as saying.
Although Trump did not specifically mention Pakistan’s long-running dispute with India over the Kashmir territory, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Thursday that Islamabad welcomes Trump’s input on how to resolve the issue.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have spiked recently over Kashmir, which is divided between them and is claimed by both in its entirety. The two nations have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.
There was no immediate comment from New Delhi, but Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, said Trump and Sharif exchanged niceties but, “I don’t think it should cause India any anxiety because what will matter is what he will do after becoming the president and after he consults his officers and learns about what Pakistan is up to.”
Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.