The US is “ready to get back to business” with Pakistan after a diplomatic row following a cross-border NATO attack on Pakistani troops,Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today.
Khar,who is on an official visit to the UK,today met Clinton on the sidelines of London Conference on Somalia to iron out differences between the two countries. According to reports Pakistan Ambassador to US Sherry Rehman was also present during the meeting.
“We respect parliament’s right to… take time to do this in a sensible way,but we had to get ready to get back into business with Pakistan” on bilateral counter terrorism issues including Afghanistan,a senior State Department official said Clinton told Khar,according to Washington Post.
The official said Clinton also told Khar that the administration wanted to resume high-level visits to Pakistan by aid officials and Marc Grossman,the top diplomatic envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Both the leaders discussed issues related to mutual interest.
Clinton’s luncheon with Khar was among the few high-level contacts between the two countries since the November deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border US air raid from Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Pakistan was too important for Washington to turn its back on,following ice-breaking talks with her Pakistani counterpart.
Clinton said there would still be “ups and downs” in the relationship but that neither side could afford to shun the other.
“Building and sustaining a relationship based on mutual interest and mutual respect takes constant care and work,from both sides,” Clinton told a press conference.
“I’m sure we will continue to have our ups and downs. But this relationship is simply too important to turn our back on for both nations.
“And we both remain committed to continue working to improve understanding and cooperation.”
Relations between Pakistan and the United States were severely damaged last year by a covert American raid that killed terror chief Osama bin Laden,as well as the air strikes on the soldiers.
She spoke of “difficult times which I admit we are in”,adding that there had been “a lot of swirling in the air of who said what when that does not accurately reflect the state of the relationship”.
The meeting was an important chance to “keep the lines of communication open” and “the work hasn’t stopped”,she added.
President Barack Obama last month confirmed for the first time that US drones target Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants on Pakistani soil,but American officials do not discuss details of the covert programme.
The US strikes are deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public,who see the attacks as a violation of sovereignty and who blame the government’s US alliance for much of the violence plaguing the country.