President Asif Ali Zardari underlined the need for “clearly defining and following the mutually agreed upon terms of engagement” between Pakistan and United States on Saturday and said isolated incidents should not affect relations.
He was talking to Senator Robert P Casey, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Michael Bennet and Senator Richard Blumenthal who called on him at the Aiwan-i-Sadr on Saturday.
“The president reiterated that the two countries should not let some isolated incidents affect their equation and to undo the efforts of building a multifaceted and long-term relationship,” President Zardari’s spokesperson quoted him as telling the visiting US senators.
President Zardari said that clearly defining and following mutually agreed terms of engagement is necessary to avoid operational irritants that hamper the relationship. This, he said, was also essential in view of divergent positions and interests on different issues.
Zardari also called for exercising restraints by both countries in issuing any statement that could potential impact the relationship, presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar.
Zardari said that recent developments at the regional and international level make it necessary for the two countries to jointly work for the region’s stability, on the one hand, and to realise mutually agreed upon goals, on the other. Fight against militants was also discussed during the meeting.
The president is said to have stressed the need for the international community to support Pakistan’s people and civilian law-enforcement agencies in the fight against militancy.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.