Corker: 'I Applaud the President' for Suspending Security Assistance to Pakistan

By Susan Jones | January 5, 2018 | 10:27 AM EST

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) (Photo: Screen grab/MSNBC)

( - Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is applauding President Trump for suspending security assistance to Pakistan.

"While Pakistan is an important country in the region, they have been very duplicitous in their dealings with us -- on one hand taking our resources and acting as if they are our security partner and on the other hand, hedging their bets and giving safe harbor to the greatest threat to our military and the government of Afghanistan," said Corker.

"The Trump administration’s calibrated approach is designed to encourage Pakistan to take the necessary steps against the Haqqani network. I applaud the president and his national security team and look forward to working with them to achieve our critical security objectives in the region."

Pakistan was topic A at Thursday's State Department briefing, where spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the suspension of security assistance -- which includes military equipment and security-related funds -- should come as no surprise:

"This is something that should not come as a surprise to Pakistan," Nauert said. "Because the president, Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Mattis have all had conversations with Pakistani officials, alerting them to our concerns that Pakistan has not done enough to detain, to take care of - and when I say 'take care of,' I mean 'round up' - terrorist and militant groups operating from within Pakistan.

"We've had a series of discussions with Pakistan about that, telling Pakistan that they need to take more decisive action. Now, the money that has been suspended at this time does not mean that it will be suspended forever. Pakistan has the ability to get this money back, if you will, in the future. But they have to take decisive action. They have to take decisive steps."

Nauert noted that in August, the Trump administration suspended $255 million in foreign military assistance to Pakistan.

Thursday's announcement involves security assistance, but Nauert could not say how much:

"So we are still working through some of those dollar numbers right now. As soon as I have a number for you, I can certainly get that to you," she said.

Nauert also said "there may be some exemptions that are made on a case-by-case basis, if they're determined to be critical to national security interests."

On New Year's Day, President Trump tweeted: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years and they have given us nothing in return but lies & deceit, thinking our leaders as fools” the president wrote on Twitter. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

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