Pakistan too important to turn our back on: Clinton

By AFP
Published: February 24, 2012

Says there will be "ups and downs" in the relationship but that neither side could afford to shun the other. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LONDON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Pakistan was too important for Washington to turn its back on, following ice-breaking talks with her Pakistani counterpart.

Clinton and Hina Rabbani Khar spoke for an hour and a half on the sidelines of a London conference on Somalia, in a first step towards thawing relations that were frozen in November when US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Clinton said there would still be “ups and downs” in the relationship but that neither side could afford to shun the other.

“Building and sustaining a relationship based on mutual interest and mutual respect takes constant care and work, from both sides,” Clinton told a press conference.

“I’m sure we will continue to have our ups and downs. But this relationship is simply too important to turn our back on — for both nations.

“And we both remain committed to continue working to improve understanding and cooperation.”

Relations between Pakistan and the United States were severely damaged last year by a covert American raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, as well as the air strikes on soldiers.

Clinton and Khar discussed tackling violent extremism, supporting Afghan-led reconciliation and improving ties between Washington and Islamabad, the secretary of state said.

She spoke of “difficult times which I admit we are in”, adding that there had been “a lot of swirling in the air of who said what when that does not accurately reflect the state of the relationship”.

The meeting was an important chance to “keep the lines of communication open” and “the work hasn’t stopped”, she added.

The United States says Pakistan’s tribal belt provides sanctuary to Taliban fighting in Afghanistan, al Qaeda groups plotting attacks on the West, Pakistani Taliban who routinely bomb Pakistan and other foreign fighters.

President Barack Obama last month confirmed for the first time that US drones target Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants on Pakistani soil, but American officials do not discuss details of the covert programme.

The US strikes are deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public, who see the attacks as a violation of sovereignty and who blame the government’s US alliance for much of the violence plaguing the country.

Reader Comments (20)

  • Abrar
    Feb 24, 2012 - 4:17AM

    Madam Secretary, Pakistan is also your Achilles’ Heel.

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  • Feb 24, 2012 - 7:49AM

    “Pakistan too important to turn our backs on.” She also there will be “ups and downs.” These Americans will not let you live in a development and Islamic mode. Why? We all have the answer to that. Salams to Pakistan

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  • Zeta
    Feb 24, 2012 - 7:54AM
  • Feb 24, 2012 - 8:59AM

    No, its not. Its not even in the G20. Its not that important.

    What you must say is with nukes and many truckloads of Terrorists Pakistan has a nuisance value. Pakistan’s value in terms of contributing to the World is close to nil.

    You have to engage Pakistan to prevent it from hurting the World. Obviously in diplomacy you cant say those things.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 24, 2012 - 9:44AM

    “Pakistan too important to turn our back on: Clinton”

    Hillary Clinton has started talking like a child but Pakistanis are matured enough to understand what does she mean.

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  • harkol
    Feb 24, 2012 - 10:12AM

    Hilary Clinton is among the very last of the folks who think that Pakistan can be ‘managed’. Most others in US administration have given up. Even she will be on her way out within a year, as a world bank seat is kept warm for her.

    US should worry more about how to lift its economy and security, and stop worrying about Af-Pak. If they can’t take care of themselves, let them go down the tube. If Pakistan can’t be a responsible Nuclear nation, then the world community should just think about how to break it up without letting the nukes fall in to wrong hands.

    If it manages to pull itself back, then it needs to be treated with respect and accommodation. Keeping it in a limbo serves no one.

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  • ashok sai
    Feb 24, 2012 - 10:32AM

    May be she is fearing of back stabbing !

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  • Akhtar
    Feb 24, 2012 - 11:57AM

    US is interested only in dealing with the Generals! They care a damn about people they are droning!

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  • Feb 24, 2012 - 12:05PM

    Turn yiur back so that we could easily backstab you.

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  • American Pakistani
    Feb 24, 2012 - 12:24PM

    @BruteForce Anoop hate all you want, but please be little less naive with your analysis. It sound like a toddler’s tantrum from a distant south indian land. But what can one expect from an indian version of ghairat brigade.

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  • Fatah
    Feb 24, 2012 - 12:50PM

    Translation of Clinton – “We need to subjugate Pakistan due to its geographic location”.

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  • Parvez
    Feb 24, 2012 - 1:36PM

    If you ask Clinton to define ‘ important ‘ in the context of American foreign policy, she would have one answer for the Americam public / Congress, another for the Pakistani public and yet another for the Pakistani rulers.

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  • Feb 24, 2012 - 4:29PM

    There is a saying in Hindi “Baghal main Churri, Mooan pai Ram Ram”

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  • Feb 24, 2012 - 6:01PM

    Please leave us alone

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  • Feb 24, 2012 - 7:53PM

    @American Pakistani:

    Truth is always bitter. Tell me if I’ve lied, I’ll take my statements back.

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  • Pollack
    Feb 24, 2012 - 10:03PM

    Yes. Pakistan is too important till the US forces leave the region. Then it’s payback time. I can guarantee you that. Pakistan has messed with the US as very few countries have. Americans will never forget that. Just look at history.

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  • Pollack
    Feb 24, 2012 - 10:07PM

    @American Pakistani: What exactly is “naive” about his statement?

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  • Harry Stone
    Feb 25, 2012 - 1:26AM

    The clock is ticking for PAK

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  • Straight Fire
    Feb 25, 2012 - 2:04AM

    @Harry Stone:
    After Iraq and Afghanistan’s small Combats, Americans are too scared of WarRecommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:27AM

    Very impressive,bold and well said Hilary Clinton.By these hypocritical US’ leaders’ hypocritical and fabricated words Pakistani leaders can be fooled and deceived very easily.

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