Saturday, January 16, 2010

Obama and Zardari Talk Afghan Strategy

LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday that the US had supported transition from dictatorship to a democratic rule in Pakistan and President Obama had taken him into confidence on the new Afghan policy.

“President Obama had written me a letter which I replied to. He even talked to me on phone before finalising his government’s new Afghan policy,” the president told journalists at a dinner here.

In reply to a question, he stated that there were no differences between Pakistan and the US over any issue, including drone attacks and transfer of drone technology.

The president said the two countries had different positions on the transfer of drone technology.

“For us this is not an important technology which cannot be given to us. But they (the US) consider it modern technology and are reluctant to it transfer to us,” he added.

The two countries had different positions on drone attacks, but were trying to sort this out. “We have had close relations with America for 60 years and now when it has become the sole superpower it has supported establishment of democratic rule in our country.” He said Pakistan should not dread India because it was a mature democracy and would be mindful of Pakistan’s current position.

He said the 17th Amendment and 58(2)b of the Constitution had been withdrawn, in principle, and it required only paperwork. He said the UN had been asked to trace out “real players” behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, adding that Baitullah Mehsud was a “mere player”.

From here.

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