WASHINGTON -  United States' "complicated relationship" with Pakistan over the last eight years prevented President Barack Obama from visiting Pakistan, the White House has said, but expressed confidence that Donald Trump would certainly consider undertaking a trip to the South Asian country when the President-elect assumes office next month.

Speaking about President Obama, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that at one point in his Presidency, he did express a desire to travel to Pakistan.

"For a variety of reasons, some of them relating to the complicated relationship between our two countries at certain times over the last eight years, President Obama was not able to realize that ambition."

Earnest was replying to questions over Pakistan govt statement that Trump in his telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had said that he would love to visit the country.

"I can't speak to the accuracy or to the tone of that phone call," the White House Press Secretary said.

"I'd refer you to the President-elect's team for more of a description of what the President-elect may have communicated to the Prime Minister of Pakistan."

The White House Press Secretary added, "Obviously, President Obama's conversations with his counterpart in Pakistan have been an important priority. The US relationship with Pakistan is one that's quite complicated, particularly when you consider our overlapping national security interests. The relations between our two countries, particularly over the last eight years, have not been smooth -- consistently smooth, particularly in the aftermath of the raid on Pakistani soil that President Obama ordered to take Osama bin Laden off the battlefield.

"But one thing we do know is that it sends apowerful message to the people of a country when the President of the United States goes to visit. That's true whether it's some of our closest allies, or that's also true if it's a country like Pakistan, with whom our relationship is somewhat more complicated.

"But ultimately, when President Trump begins planning his overseas travel, he'll have a range of places to consider, and Pakistan would certainly be one of them."

Noting that this obviously is an important relationship, Earnest said that there have been areas where the US and Pakistan have been able to effectively coordinate their efforts.

Earnest said that Obama benefitted from the professionalism and expertise of career diplomats at the State Department who were able to offer him good advice about engaging with world leaders.

"President Obama benefited enormously from the advice and expertise that's been shared by those who serve at the State Department. And I'm confident that as President-elect Trump takes office, those same State Department employees will stand ready to offer him advice as he conducts the business of the United States overseas. Hopefully he'll take it," he said.