US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman on Thursday said that Pakistan and the US have a “meeting of the minds” on securing a stable Afghanistan.
In a joint press conference with Grossman, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan’s relationship with the United States is going to be a “continuous process”.
“We should be able to share notes and understand each other’s perspectives,” she added.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani welcomed America’s initiatives for peace in Afghanistan.
During the meeting, the prime minister said the world should recognise Pakistan’s efforts in the war against terror.
He said intelligence agencies were reviewing the evidence provided by the Afghan government regarding the killing of Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Gilani also voiced support for the reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan but stressed that issues cannot be solved without involving Pakistan.
He also reiterated Pakistan’s stance on drone strikes in the tribal areas.
Grossman also met Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
Marc Grossman said that victory in the war against terror in Afghanistan is not possible without Pakistan’s input.
We tried to think about the future and way to keep our strategic dialogue going,” Grossman told a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
“We also talked about how can we continue in a systematic way to identify the interests that we share with Pakistan, and there are many, and then find ways to act on them jointly,” he added.
Grossman said that besides discussing bilateral relations with the foreign minister, the peace conferences of Istanbul and Bonn were also discussed so that Pakistan should be included in the peace process and it is an important country to play due role for the peace and security in the region.
He said success of these two conferences would be helpful in ensuring peace and security, not only in Afghanistan but would also promote peace in the region and the world.
Grossman said he also visited Central Asian States, Kabul,China and India before coming to Pakistan and brought a message of hope and support from the regional countries for peace and security in the region.
On Tuesday, acknowledging for the first time that the US is waging a war in Pakistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described Washington’s relationship with Islamabad as “complicated”.
“And admittedly, there are a lot of reasons for that. We are fighting a war in their country,” Panetta said.
He said the two countries sharply disagreed over “relations they maintain with some of the militant groups in that country,” a reference to Washington’s demand that Islamabad crack down on the Haqqani network.
Updated from print edition (below)
Haqqanis to be high on US envoy’s agenda in key meetings
Pakistan and the United States will seek to narrow down their differences on the Haqqani network when a senior US diplomat meets the country’s civil and military leadership today (Thursday) in Islamabad.
US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman is arriving on a day-long trip to meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as well as other senior officials.
Following last month’s daring assault on the US Embassy in Kabul, Washington has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to eliminate the group’s ‘safe havens’ from North Waziristan tribal region.
Pakistan has resisted the US demand, but expressed its readiness to address its concerns on the Haqqani network. It is widely believed that Pakistan’s reluctance to go after the group is attributed to the fact that the Haqqanis have a pivotal role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan.
“There are regional complexities which we are aware of and are trying to address,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua at her last news briefing when asked about tensions between Pakistan and the US on the Haqqanis.
Grossman, who is arriving from New Delhi, will also discuss the forthcoming international conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul on November 2 and in Bonn on December 5.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2011.