Q & A with Clinton: Reconciliation, aid and Blackwater

Published: October 21, 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a town hall meeting with businessmen and members of civil society in Islamabad October 21, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday the United States wants to work on a process which is open to militant groups, and elements within them, that are willing to sit and discuss a way forward committed to peace and reconciliation in the region.

The US secretary of state was addressing members of civil society, students and traders at a town hall meeting in Islamabad.

On holding talks with militant groups in Afghanistan, Clinton said it was important that they renounce violence, cut all ties with al Qaeda and state willingness to abide by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan.

She said all parties were invited to the process, but their “seriousness and sincerity” would have to be seen.

“Pakistan has the capacity to push and squeeze Haqqanis and the terrorists to engage in a peace process.”

Responding to a question on the presence of Blackwater or Xe in Pakistan, Clinton said that Blackwater no longer existed, and that certain functions of the organisation had merged or had been purchased by others such as Xe.

She said the US used private security companies to protect diplomats and embassies all over the world and that it would not be anything unique to Pakistan if they were present here.

Clinton said she could not disclose which company had the contract for Pakistan.

The secretary of state said the US policy of talks and fighting with militant groups did seem contradictory at first, but it was the only way to convince some elements to come and talk.

She said the US felt strongly about development and was shifting focus from aid to trade with Pakistan, and that they are trying to double efforts to reach out to Pakistani entrepreneurs.

Clinton said she hoped the message of ‘give peace a chance’ is also heard by terrorist elements on both sides of the border.

Responding to a question on flood relief support in 2011, Clinton said the US was the biggest contributor in 2010 but they did not have the flexibility in the budget now.

She said the relationship between Pakistan and the US was critical and important to both sides.

“We cannot give up… once a mother-in-law always a mother-in-law. But perhaps mother-in-laws can learn new ways also… there has to be that kind of give and take,” she said.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Nasir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:03AM

    Same song once again by US. They want that Pakistan would stuck in tribal areas further degrading the security situation in the country and US can shake hand with India handing over the task to her.

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  • Nasir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:07AM

    It is becoming clear that goals of US, Afg and India contradict with Pakistan and all three are committed to corner and destabilize Pakistan.

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  • Shailesh Bhavsar
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:08AM

    US Secretary of State Clinton’s proposed interaction with top leaders of Pak administration, military and above all, the citizens of Pak is a clear message of US’s growing helplessness in accomplishing its desired objectives of defeating terror.

    If Clinton goes ahead to address the people of Pak, then it means, US is giving one more opportunity to its ally to come to terms on the subject of jointly fighting terror. If this interaction evokes the desired response, then it is good for Pak if not, it could seriously hamper its governing administration to make an account of US actions against them

    In the end, it is for the Pak government to take a final call on the issues US is taking up with their office else the Pak government is bound to face a backlash from its own countrymen

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:24AM

    US demand for Islamabad to dismantle Taliban safe havens: The demand is impossible to meet. However it can be considered after the US has made payment for all Pakistan has done for it. Pay first, talk later and later includes payment in advance.

    And we want to ensure that we are really having a dialogue about our relationship going forward because we both have a lot at stake here,” Again off the mark. America has nothing at stake here, Pakistan does. It would be best for the US to leave screaming, ‘We won! We won!’ at the top of their voices to fool the gullible American public that the withdrawal was worth every penny of the tax payers money. Pakistan can manage its own affairs without US advice, aid or help.

    Pakistan has received billions in US military and civilian aid: true, but billions more remain to be paid. Also, with US connivance, most of the billions were stolen by their corrupt stooges.

    now is the time to concentrate on a comprehensive reconciliation: The best advice. Better than this, go home and never come here again.

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  • ashok sai
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:33AM

    It goes to show that, US has the strongest evidence about Pak providing safe havens to Haqqani network. Since Hillary dare to meet civilians in a open conversation, I am sure she has astounding arguments to rest her case about consequences Pakistan has to deal with. Recommend

  • Noor
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:37AM

    As the Beauty Pageants say, could Hillary understand this

    “WORLD PEACE”!

    Such actions by US donot have backing by their own masses, why should Pakistani people support them;

    given that we’ve to live here & US has to run away!

    What Dollars?
    We were given millions with conditions like even the utility services were multiplied in their prices at the cost of destruction of our security, economy, psychological effects on everybody, even the innocent kids, where

    a country like Greece is being given bail out package of US$ 164 billion; Can we compare this?

    Is there a proportion for the deal?

    Do we have a price, as individuals & as a nation?

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  • RizwanTKhan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:57AM

    Hillary, USA is the biggest terrorist country seeding terrorism all around the globe. Let us handle the crap that you spread all over our country.Recommend

  • Gul Khan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:04AM

    Clinton’s tactics do not work on Mr. Kiyani. Condoliza Rice was quiet successful in pressurizing Musharraf.

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  • Kabir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:08AM

    Agent rulers providing the crusader enemy the opertunity to spill venom into the public. The hypocratic arguments are way too weak to impress and convince the public .

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  • Faizi
    Oct 21, 2011 - 12:00PM

    its just a joke with pakistan. one the one hand they are doing Negotiations with Haqqani Network and they are lunching an operation against them. Is that a funny joke or kidding with the blind eyes. Don’t make the panic here any more. Recommend

  • LUV PAK
    Oct 21, 2011 - 12:08PM

    +.

    It seems that USA thinks Pakistan Army is a paid Killers?

    Common guys (USA) this is not going to work.
    We have a our own long term interests you will leave the way you did in 80s endgame.

    We have to not accept any bribe or add from USA any more please.

    This is too much now.

    Wish was able to attend Mrs. Clifton LIVE program, would have asked her lots of questions for hours and hours.

    +.

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  • The Flying Object
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:22PM

    Yes yes and pigs can fly… Isn’t that also true Ms Clinton…

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  • Cautious
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:47PM

    You have to admire someone who would willingly sit down in a hostile atmosphere and take open questions — reminds me of when she took open questions at a Pakistani University and stated that she believed that someone in the Pakistani govt knew the location of OBL. I doubt Pakistani govt officials would have the same guts.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:07PM

    Mrs. Clinton said “the US used private security companies to protect diplomats and embassies all over the world” and she “could not disclose which company had the contract for Pakistan”. Do members of these private security companies have diplomatic status and enjoy immunity? According to the media, Raymond A. Davies, who was held for shootings in February worked as Blackwater CIA contractor.

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  • Mohib Khattak
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:25PM

    Another Superpower is defeating n Afghanistan i think.

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  • AnisAqeel
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:51PM

    @Nasir:

    “It is becoming clear that goals of US, Afg and India contradict with Pakistan and all three are committed to corner and destabilize Pakistan.”

    News to me, when was Pakistan stable since its creation!!!

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:59PM

    Pretty brave of her unless the audience was carefully screened.

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  • Nadeem
    Oct 22, 2011 - 2:12AM

    @ashok sai:
    american politicians are professional liars
    Dick Cheney went on TV and said Saddam Hussein was helping Al Qaeda and iraq had WMDs, 10 years later everyone forgets and they go and invade oil rich libya

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:03AM

    @Faizi: What a good idea – but in reverse. Pakistan should negotiate with Haqqani network and the US can launch as many operations as they wish against the Haqqanis. This way, when the US finally leaves with its tail between its legs, we will be with our friends. Sorry Mrs Clintton. Good idea but it flew like a lead brick. So you launch operations and we will negotiate. Fair?

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:13AM

    “Clinton said she hoped the message of ‘give peace a chance’ is also heard by terrorist elements on both sides of the border.” Mrs Clinton you are being absurd. How can any one give peace a chance while your country is blundering about like a bull in a china shop? Your military gadgets have failed to break the human spirit – go away, if you never come back it will be too soon. Your attempt at brazening it out has flopped. Now come to your senses – you will sooner or later. Finally, you are getting boring and will soon lose attention.Recommend

  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:24AM

    “She said the US used private security companies to protect diplomats and embassies all over the world and that it would not be anything unique to Pakistan if they were present here.”

    What a GOOD IDEA! Pakistanis can also hire private security companies to protect our embassy in Washington. Brilliant. Then, if our ‘Raymond Davis’ guns down a couple of Americans, America will have the opportunity to return the favor our government did.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:28AM

    “Clinton said she could not disclose which company had the contract for Pakistan.”

    Is it too much to ask why she could not disclose this information? Is it possible that the company is Indian or worst still… Pakistani? How interesting! Mrs Hina Rabbani Khar, could you get and issue a clarification?

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:36AM

    “Clinton said she hoped the message of ‘give peace a chance’ is also heard by terrorist elements on both sides of the border.”

    Mrs Clinton, when you are given access to our TV networks, have no doubt that you have been heard far and wide. That is not the question. The question is, ‘Have you managed to convince any listener?’ It will not take long for you to find out. If people shower you with rose petals, you will know that your proposal has been accepted with gratitude and tears in eyes. If this does not happen, its time to pick up your bags and steal quietly away.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:44AM

    “Responding to a question on flood relief support in 2011, Clinton said the US was the biggest contributor in 2010 but they did not have the flexibility in the budget now.”

    A fair interpretation of this statement:”I am broke! B R O K E. Recommend

  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:51AM

    “She said the US felt strongly about development and was shifting focus from aid to trade with Pakistan, and that they are trying to double efforts to reach out to Pakistani entrepreneurs.”

    Pakistanis will believe and welcome you as soon as you announce a TRADE EXPO in Pakistan to allow American Businessmen to see what all Pakistan can sell them. Ha! Ha! Hilarious!

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 22, 2011 - 4:56AM

    ““We cannot give up… once a mother-in-law always a mother-in-law. But perhaps mother-in-laws can learn new ways also… there has to be that kind of give and take,” she said.”

    Mrs Clinton, we learned our lessons the hard way. Now you learn yours.

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  • Pundit
    Oct 22, 2011 - 11:36AM

    @Faizi: Lunching vs Launching:)

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