Outgoing US President Barack Obama at the beginning of his term had expressed his desire to visit Pakistan, but could not do so because of a “complicated relationship” with the country, the White House said on Friday.
“At one point in his presidency, I do recall President Obama expressing 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 realise that ambition,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.
The White House Secretary was responding to a question over Pakistan’s statement that President-elect Donald Trump in his telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said that he would love to visit the country.
“But one thing we do know is that it sends a powerful 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,” he said.
“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,” Earnest said.