Visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday met US Secretary of State John Kerry and discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues,the State Department said.
Sharif is here on a four-day official visit to the US,and is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama on October 23.
The Obama Administration has requested the Congress to resume security assistance to Pakistan,which now stands at 305 million US dollars for fiscal year 2014,a drop of 35 per cent against 2012 fiscal.
The drop is because the Administration has not asked for a renewal of temporary Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF),which was started in 2009,a senior administration official said.
“Secretary Kerry’s meeting with the PM (Sharif) is their third in three months,and continued the robust dialogue on our shared goal of a stable,secure and prosperous Pakistan,” a statement issued by the State Department said.
The official emphasised that the civilian assistance was never interrupted,while the security assistance was significantly slowed,if not stopped during the period of strained relationship in the last two years.
There has also been a drop of 14 per cent in the civilian assistance to Pakistan for this year as requested by the Obama Administration,which is mainly attributed to the budgetary and implementation constraints of the US,he said.
“The FY 2014 foreign assistance request for Pakistan totals USD 1.162 billion,including USD 857 million of civilian assistance and USD305 million of security assistance,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson,Marie Harf said.
“As part of our annual funding process,throughout the course of this past summer,the State Department notified Congress of how it planned to programme funds from several different accounts for various programmes in Pakistan.
“Funding was notified to Congress following a rigorous planning process over multiple months,to ensure that it was in line with both US and Pakistani interests,and would deliver important results for both countries.
“The US civilian assistance to Pakistan has delivered real results on issues most important to PM Sharif and all Pakistanis,like energy,education,and economic growth,she said.
“While this is part of a long process of restarting security assistance cooperation after implementation was slowed during the bilateral challenges of 2011 and 2012,civilian assistance has continued uninterrupted throughout,” Harf emphasised.
She said that US security assistance continues to build the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism capabilities of Pakistan’s security forces,which she termed critical to countering violence in the western border regions.
Citing similar reasons for the decline in the aid,a State Department official said that the strategic security assistance cooperation with Pakistan will continue through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) programmes.
“In consultation and collaboration with Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership,the US reviewed our security assistance programmes to Pakistan and has narrowed the scope of that assistance to more directly and tangibly achieve our shared goals,” the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press.
In February this year at a Defence Resourcing Conference,the US and Pakistan had endorsed a plan to align other assistance resources for supporting the shared counter terrorism goals,the official explained.
“We have been in close consultation with the Government of Pakistan about changes to our security assistance programs and have been frank about our budget realities and the need to refine assistance to better meet our mutual objectives,” the official said.