Friday, April 13, 2012

Pakistan: No Arms to Afghanistan and No Drones

WASHINGTON, April 12: The United States reacted cautiously on Thursday to Pakistani parliament’s guidelines for rebuilding relations with the United States, as the State Department confined itself to noting “the seriousness” of the parliamentary process.

Officials at the State Department and the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan immediately began consultations after a parliamentary session in Islamabad announced the recommendations.

The guidelines, approved by lawmakers, include a call for an immediate end to US drone attacks and no further use of Pakistan as a transportation route for weapons into Afghanistan.

“We have seen that the joint session of the Pakistani parliament has approved the final recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security,” said State Department official Laura Lucas, when asked for comments.

“We respect the seriousness with which this review has been conducted. We look forward to discussing these policy recommendations with the government of Pakistan,” she added.

Ms Lucas, however, said that State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland might issue a statement later, which would detail Washington’s reactions to the recommendations announced in Islamabad.

Beth Gosselin, another official at the spokesperson’s office, however, sent Dawn excerpts from Ms Nuland’s recent statements on parliamentary recommendations, which cover various subjects raised in the guidelines.

On the recommendation that Pakistan’s relationship with the United States should be based on mutual respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each other, Ms Nuland noted that the United States had always respected the “territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan”.

The United States, she said, also had “expressed its respect for the parliamentary review”.

The United States had conveyed its “desire for consultations” after the review “because we have many shared interests to work together,” she said.

Ms Nuland noted that during a recent meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in Dushanbe, US Special Representative Marc Grossman discussed with him “counter-terrorism
cooperation against insurgents that could harm Pakistanis, Afghans and the United States”.

The US official and the Pakistani leader also talked about “regional integration, expanding trade and economic cooperation”, Ms Nuland noted.

Source: Pakistan Dawn

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