Trump calls Pakistan's Premier a 'terrific guy'

ISLAMABAD • US President-elect Donald Trump has offered to help solve Pakistan's problems and praised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a "terrific guy" in the first call between the two men, the Pakistani leader's office said.

Historical allies in the region, Islamabad and Washington have seen relations sour in recent years over US accusations that Pakistan shelters Islamist militants, a charge denied by the South Asian nation.

Mr Sharif's office said late on Wednesday the Pakistani Premier called Mr Trump to congratulate him on his victory and issued a readout of the call. Mr Trump's team confirmed the two men talked and issued a brief statement.

"President Trump said 'Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way'," said the statement issued by Mr Sharif's office. " 'I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honour'," it quoted Mr Trump as saying.

The Prime Minister's office did not elaborate on the kind of problems Mr Trump offered to solve. The statement also did not clarify why exactly Mr Trump was impressed with Mr Sharif.

Pakistan's sputtering economy has rebounded since Mr Sharif was elected in 2013 and security has vastly improved amid greater efforts by the army to tackle militants such as the Pakistani Taleban. But security remains a problem as Islamist groups continue to stage attacks.

Mr Trump's office said the two leaders had a "productive conversation about how the United States and Pakistan will have a strong working relationship in the future".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2016, with the headline 'Trump calls Pakistan's Premier a 'terrific guy''. Print Edition | Subscribe