WASHINGTON: Pakistan and US decided on bettering cooperation between the two countries on security, proliferation, counterterrorism, energy, economy, and trade among other subjects.
In what were talks on a “full range of subjects”, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met at the State Department in Washington.
Later, speaking to reporters at a press conference at the Embassy of Pakistan, Foreign Minister Khar said they had detailed and frank discussions with the members of the US Administration on drones, saying that Pakistan’s position remains that they are illegal and counterproductive and that there is now a better realisation in the US as to what the negative fallout of drone strikes is in Pakistan.
In response to a question, Khar explained the reason drones were counterproductive is that when a US drone carries out a strike, Pakistani officials have to hear remarks that this is the US’ war.
Khar asked that in 352 terrorist attacks in Pakistan, how many of those killed were Pakistanis as opposed to foreigners, saying that Pakistanis were the ones who were being
The foreign minister said that Pakistan felt that there was a better convergence between the US and Pakistan on counterterrorism and on Afghanistan.
She also announced that in the meeting with Secretary Clinton they had decided that the working groups between US and Pakistan would meet soon, which would include working groups on security and proliferation, law enforcement and counterterrorism, energy and water, economy, finance and trade and defense consultation.
Meeting with Donilon
FM Khar also met White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon on Friday. She said that Pakistan wanted to play the role of a facilitator in the Afghanistan reconciliation process, adding that there was more work to be done in the future in addition to the work done by the safe passage working group.
In response to a question, Foreign Minister Khar said that Dr Shakil Afridi was not a hero, and reiterated that he had harmed the cause of polio vaccination inPakistan.
The Foreign Minister and her team, along with the Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman and Pakistan Embassy officials will now head toNew York, where the President Asif Zardari will join them.
The President of Pakistan is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, September 25.
Pakistan, US seek relations built on mutual trust
Before they went in for their meeting, Khar and Clinton addressed a joint meeting where the two stressed on improved relations built on mutual trust and interests.
Clinton said that while the past year and a half has been challenging for the relationship between Pakistan and the US, both countries still had work to do together.
“We can achieve more when we have a focused agenda,” said Secretary Clinton, and added that she was looking forward to seeing President Zardari next week at the UN General Assembly in New York.
“Our shared priority remains joint counterterrorism objectives to ensure security of US and Pakistan citizens.”
Thanking Pakistan for reopening the NATO supply routes, Clinton said they would talk about Afghanistan, especially on the meeting of the safe passage working group. She added that she agreed that the US needed to shift from aid to trade and investment in Pakistan, and expressed hope that the Bilateral Investment Treaty would be finalised soon.
Khar added that they needed to build together on architecture of mutual trust and each country’s national interests.
The foreign minister said that terrorists of all breeds and races were a threat to both the Pakistan and the United States. She said that Pakistan and US have a unique opportunity to work together on Afghanistan and ensure there is no security vacuum during the transition period in Afghanistan.
Clinton said that the US respects Pakistan’s sovereignty, but reminded that “We want democracy to succeed in Pakistan. We also support Pakistan’s sovereignty, but we are clear that all sovereign nations carry certain obligations to protect the human rights of their citizens, to control their territory, to prevent threats to their neighbours and to the international community.”
The meeting between Secretary Clinton and FM Khar has ended. US said they hope for a discussion on a full range of subjects.
Expected attendees included Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman, Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides, Ambassador Sherry Rehman and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani amongst other officials.
Anti-Islam film, violent protests condemned
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dubbed the anti-Islam film as disgusting and repulsive, but condemned the violent protests in Pakistan saying “violence cannot be tolerated.”
Speaking to reporters with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar before their scheduled two hour-long meeting at the Department of State, Secretary Clinton thanked the Government of Pakistan for their efforts to protect the US Embassy and the consulates in Pakistan.
Clinton urged people everywhere to stand up and speak up against violence, and that these protests should not be hijacked by people with extremist agendas.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that the Secretary’s and President Obama’s messages of condemnations at the blasphemous video had sent a strong message that the US government does not support this blasphemous video.
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