US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Islamabad on Wednesday to meet with the new prime minister, Imran Khan, saying he hoped to "reestablish the relationship" with Pakistan, which has worsened in recent months.
The conciliatory comments from Pompeo, whose flight landed on Wednesday night, come days after Washington confirmed its plans to cancel $ 300 million in military aid.
But the former CIA director, who makes his first visit as the top US diplomat to the beleaguered ally whose support is vital in the Afghan conflict, said it was time to "turn the page."
"Then first stop – Pakistan," he said, speaking on a plane before his trip to South Asia.
"The new leader there, wanted to leave there at the beginning of his time in an effort to restore the relationship between the two countries," he said.
"There are many challenges between our two nations, no doubt, but we hope that with the new leadership we can find common ground and start working together on some of our shared problems," said Pompeo, who will do it. will join General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
US officials accuse Islamabad of ignoring or even collaborating with groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, which are attacking Afghanistan from safe havens along the border between the two countries.
The White House believes that Pakistan's inter-service intelligence agency and other military bodies have long helped finance and arm the Taliban for ideological reasons, and also to counteract the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan.
He believes that a Pakistani offensive against the militants could be instrumental in deciding the outcome of the long-term war in Afghanistan.
Pompeo suggested that the election of Khan, who has promised to seek better relations with the United States, could provide a new impetus.
"Look, I think there is a new government this time, most of it took place long before the prime minister was in power and I hope we can turn the page and start moving in. But there are real expectations," he said.
"I hope we can convince them to provide that help," he continued, adding that in their talks with Khan, they had agreed that peace in Afghanistan was a "shared goal."
Pompeo also argued that military aid, part of a larger freeze announced in January, could be restored under the right circumstances.
"We were providing these resources when it made sense for the United States because the association was in a place where the actions of our two countries made sense to do that," he said. "If that happens again, I trust that we will present the president with the foundation of that."
Pompeo added that he would also meet with Pakistan's powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and his counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
The latest declarations represent a change of tone towards the Muslim country with nuclear weapons and its new prime minister, a former cricketer who came to the presidency in July amid concerns that he will remain tolerant of terrorist groups.
At the time of the vote, the United States pointed to what it called "failures" in Pakistan's pre-election process, but said it was nonetheless ready to work with the new government.
Pompeo also confirmed that Zalmay Khalilzad, a former high-profile US ambassador in Kabul, Baghdad and the United Nations, would be appointed to lead peace efforts in Afghanistan.
"Ambassador Khalilzad will join the State Department team to help us in the reconciliation effort, so he will join and be the main person of the State Department for that purpose," he said.
Pompeo went to the US embassy after landing, in a caravan of vehicles of about 20 white Toyota Land Cruisers and a police escort.
He will travel to India, where he will join Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to meet with his counterparts on a series of defense and trade issues.