Obama, Gilani vow to rescue anti-terror alliance

Published: March 27, 2012

US President Barack Obama (R) and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani (L) shake hands as they meet with the media during their bilaterial meeting on the sidelines of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit at the COEX Center in Seoul on March 27, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL: US President Barack Obama and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani vowed Tuesday to rescue a troubled anti-terror alliance which almost ruptured over 10 months of mistrust and recriminations.

The leaders met on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Seoul, in the highest-level exchange between the two sides since the killing of Osama bin Laden in a clandestine US raid on Pakistani soil last May chilled ties.

More recently a new breach opened up over the mistaken killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in November in US air strikes, which prompted Islamabad to curtail American drone strikes and cut NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.

“There have been times – I think we should be candid – over the last several months where those relations have had periods of strains,” Obama told reporters as the meeting opened.

“But I welcome the fact that the parliament of Pakistan is reviewing, after some extensive study, the nature of this relationship.

“I think it’s important to get it right. I think it’s important for us to have candid dialogue, to work through these issues.”

Both leaders expressed a desire to stabilise and secure the situation in the long Afghan war, which has been beset by setbacks, including a massacre of Afghan civilians by a US soldier and attacks on NATO troops by their colleagues in the Afghan security forces.

“We are both interested in a stable and secure Afghanistan and a stable and secure region,” Obama said.

Gilani said: “We are committed to fighting against extremism. We want stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We want to work together with you,” he told Obama.

Pakistani lawmakers have demanded an American apology and taxes on NATO convoys in recommendations put to parliament, to be debated as a possible precursor to reopening NATO supply lines for the Afghan war.

Obama said he believed that the parliamentary review and discussions in the United States would produce a balanced approach that respected Pakistani sovereignty and US national security.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Raja Rizwan
    Mar 27, 2012 - 3:41PM

    OMG… look at the eyes of our PM.. how excited he is to meet with Obama.

    Now come to the comment of Obama.. “But I welcome the fact that the parliament of Pakistan is reviewing, after some extensive study, the nature of this relationship”.
    We have to keep in mind that US investigations has already put all the blame on Pakistan for the incidence. Secondly we all know that US damn care about our parliament and its resolutions.. keep in mind the resolution about drone attacks (I think it was paased in late 2008) and many more such resolutions.


  • Mar 27, 2012 - 3:43PM

    Vienna,March 27,2012
    Pakistan should prepare a draft apology for the
    American President to sign.The Americans should
    have a look and fine tune the words to make it
    approvable by the Mullahs of Irfan Khan of Pakistan.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM
    India—Kulamarva Balakrishna


  • Ahmed
    Mar 27, 2012 - 4:20PM

    Allah’s Curse on them who are dishonest and disloyal to Pakistan and who cannot provide Pakistani people with basic amenities.


  • Mar 27, 2012 - 4:27PM

    Pak Get out of this unnatural alliance


  • Mar 27, 2012 - 5:25PM

    This was the opportunity where Pakistan could have presented their main concerns with authority.


  • Mar 27, 2012 - 5:39PM

    I hope that US will realize the ongoing situation in Pakistan and would not press any more Government of Pakistan to extend any more undue favours to US.

    This is time that Pakistan should correct its mistakes and take right decisions for the right direction.

    We should not wait for the last solider to evacuate from Afghanistan and seal our borders that no terrorist should be able to enter in Pakistan’s territory from across the borders.


  • wonderer
    Mar 27, 2012 - 6:16PM

    Pakistan has a habit of making a fool of itself. Can anyone expect America to stop drone attacks? Why pass such a resolution?

    Now, Difa-e-Pakistan Council will make it sure the foolishness is confirmed.


  • Cautious
    Mar 27, 2012 - 8:11PM

    You just don’t get it —- your duplicitous nature is obvious and America no longer will rely on you for anything critical. They have alternative supply routes, excluded you from negotiating talks, didn’t provide the “unconditional apology”, and have made it clear under what terms they will consider ceasing the drone attacks. You anti American bravado has yielded you nothing — lots of chest thumping for an audience who might be entertained but probably is more concerned about why the lights keep going out.


  • j. von hettlingen
    Mar 27, 2012 - 9:54PM

    No doubt Obama and Gilani have had constructive talks. The reality on the ground looks different and both leaders still have a lot of obstacles to overcome. Obama has to convince his own people to support his policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gilani has to allay the anti-American sentiments at home.


  • Mar 28, 2012 - 8:10PM

    Dear Mohammad Ali Siddiqui,

    It was our common stance against terrorism that brought us together in the WOT. We have achieved great success in fighting terrorism through our combined efforts. It is important to note that the U.S and Pakistan are two proud nations, and fully respect each other’s independence. It is not uncommon for two sovereign nations to disagree or suggest a different approach to a common mission. At the moment, it is clear that both nations are in favor of creating a better working relationship. And we are confident of achieving more success through better cooperation and communication. Our governments have continued to place the importance of defeating terrorism and stabilizing the region above all, and we certainly hope that will be the case once again. We have to keep in mind that we are fighting this war side by side. Therefore, we have to work through challenges and obstacles, and refrain from indulging in the blame game for the sake of achieving our common mission.

    Maj David Nevers
    DET-United States Central Command


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