ISLAMABAD: Days after the conclusion of the third round of strategic dialogue in Washington during which the US pledged $2 billion in military aid, top US leaders on Tuesday made contacts with Pakistan’s civilian leadership in an apparent attempt to keep a balance between the country’s powerful military and the fragile civilian set-up.
Within a few hours after the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, rang President Asif Ali Zardari, President Barack Obama himself telephoned his counterpart and reiterated ‘support for democracy’.
President Zardari’s media office issued two separate press statements after these telephonic conversations saying that detailed conversations were held between the leaders that covered several important matters.
Both presidents welcomed the substantial progress made at the recently concluded round of the strategic dialogue and underscored the importance of forging a comprehensive partnership between the US and Pakistan. “President Obama, in particular, reiterated his strong support for democracy in Pakistan and expressed appreciation for the country’s accomplishments in numerous fields,” President Zardari’s media office said.
Obama invited his Pakistani counterpart to visit Washington. President Zardari thanked the US president for the invitation, saying he is looking forward to President Obama’s visit to Pakistan in early 2011, a statement said, adding that the two presidents exchanged views on regional matters.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2010.