Trump team takes issue with Pakistani version of phone talk

Srinagar: The Trump transition team has issued its own version of the Sharif-Trump telephone call, saying that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US president-elect Donald Trump did have a ‘productive conversation’ on Wednesday, but it lacked the “flowery language” included in the Pakistani version of this talk, Dawn reported on Friday.

“President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke … had a productive conversation about how the United States and Pakistan will have a strong working relationship in the future,” the Trump transition team in a rare readout of his conversation with a foreign leader was quoted by the Dawn.

“President-elect Trump also noted that he is looking forward to a lasting and strong personal relationship with Prime Minister Sharif,” the statement added, according to Dawn.  An unidentified adviser to the Trump team said the Pakistani readout of the talk had “committed the president-elect to more than what he meant”, the report said.

Other members of the Trump team, quoted in media, pointed out that the Pakistanis overplayed Trump’s offer to play “a role” in resolving Pakistan’s disputes with India, the report added.

The most critical comment on the Pakistani readout, however, came from a former White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer: “It’s entirely inappropriate for the Pakistani government to release what an American president-elect says in the course of a phone call,” the report quoted Fleischer.

Fleischer, who was a member of former Republican president George Bush’s White House team and is close to the Trump transition team as well, noted that no government releases such readouts, the report said.

“We would never release what a foreign leader said to (ex-president) George W. Bush. We would talk about what George W. Bush said. But to release what somebody else says, I am not the spokesperson for Pakistan or any other nation,” he told CNN, the report said.

“So, for them to do it is an entire breach of diplomatic protocol and tradition. And if they had done that to me, I would be on the phone right now with their press secretary, chewing him out. The ambassador would be on the phone with their ambassador, chewing the ambassador out. And up and down the chain,” Fleischer was further quoted by the report.

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