WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama called President Zardari on Sunday to personally condole the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a NATO airstrike last week.
In a press release issued by the White House, President Obama “made clear that this regrettable incident was not a deliberate attack on Pakistan and reiterated the United States’ strong commitment to a full investigation.”
The press release further stated that the two leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship, which is critical to the security of both nations, and they agreed to stay in close touch.”
Earlier US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Saturday evening – a call during which the premier is said to have declined a request to attend the conference on the Afghan endgame, which is to start on Monday.
According to the prime minister’s office, Gilani had made it clear to the US that his government was ‘bound to follow’ the parliamentary committee’s decision regarding the conference.
“[Secretary Clinton] said that the attack was not intentional and that we must wait for the outcome of the investigation,” the statement said.
Earlier in November a Nato strike on a checkpost in Mohmand agency on the Afghan border had killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. In retaliation for the raid, Islamabad had blocked Nato convoys from crossing into Afghanistan, ordered a review of its alliance with the US and demanded that the US leave Shamsi airbase used for drone flights within 15 days.