ISLAMABAD   -    The United States yesterday confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting on July 22 with President Donald Trump has been fixed officially.

“President Donald Trump will welcome Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to the White House on July 22,” a White House statement said hours after the US State Department denied any knowledge of PM Khan’s visit to the US.

During a weekly briefing, the US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, when asked what meetings had been scheduled for PM Khan’s visit, had replied, “To my knowledge that has actually not been confirmed by the White House.”

“We don’t have anything to announce here from the State Department,” she had said.

However, the White House put the confusion to rest saying: “The visit will focus on strengthening cooperation between the United States and Pakistan to bring peace, stability, and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict.”

The statement said that Prime Minister Khan and President Trump will discuss a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, defence, energy and trade with the goal of creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia.

After the US State department’s confusing statement, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammed Faisal confirmed PM Imran Khan’s visit to United States and said that formal announcement will be made at the appropriate time.

In a Twitter post, Dr Faisal wrote: “We wish to caution against speculation about PM’s visit. We are in close contact with the US side.”

Last week, Pakistan said Islamabad and Washington aimed to “refresh” ties when Prime Minister Imran Khan meets US President Donald Trump in Washington on July 22.

After the confirmation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington by the White House, the foreign ministry in a statement on Wednesday said Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit the United States on the invitation of President Donald Trump from July 21 to 23.

This would be the first summit-level engagement between Pakistan and the United States since both the leaders assumed their respective offices, the ministry said in the statement.

During the visit, Imran Khan and Donald Trump would have wide-ranging interaction at the White House on 22 July 2019 covering bilateral and regional matters. The Prime Minister will also be meeting with prominent members of the US Congress, corporate leaders and opinion makers as well as members of the Pakistani diaspora, the statement said.

During his various engagements in Washington, the Prime Minister will outline his vision of “Naya Pakistan” and underscore the importance Pakistan attaches to a broader and multi-faceted relationship with the United States.

In the regional context, the Prime Minister will underscore Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability and the importance of constructive engagement to promote a political solution in Afghanistan. He will also highlight Pakistan’s policy of “peaceful neighbourhood” aimed at resolving disputes through dialogue and promoting the vision of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and beyond.

The Prime Minister’s visit will help renew and reinvigorate long-standing ties between Pakistan and the United States.

It will contribute towards building a broad-based, long-term and enduring partnership between the two countries on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit.