No lack of trust between Pakistan, US: Boucher
Dispelling the impression of talks that the United States was engaged in talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher made clear that no political negotiations were going on with the Taliban involved in fighting Nato troops.
October 21, 2008 (FPRC) -- Dispelling the impression of talks that the United States was engaged in talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher made clear that no political negotiations were going on with the Taliban involved in fighting Nato troops.
"We don't believe in political talks with militants in Afghanistan and we have to fight them," Boucher said this while addressing a press conference at the US embassy on Monday. While supporting military action against the Taliban inside Pakistani territory, he said Pakistani's should take serious action against militants who are attacking inside Pakistan.
"You are the targets. Your people are the targets. Your leaderships are the targets. Our goal is to help Pakistan out with fight against terrorists," he said.
Appreciating Pakistan's recent efforts in the fight against terror, Boucher said there was no lack of trust between the leadership of the two countries as the US has extended its full support for the democratic process. Boucher said he has seen a lot of determination in the leadership of Pakistan as they have shown sincerity and commitment. Referring to his meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani, he said these were very useful and fruitful interactions. He said the US has a lot of respect for the political leadership of Pakistan.
He said America supported free and fair elections and it was a great success that moderate forces were elected in the February elections.
He said his recent visit to Pakistan was aimed at a follow-up of the meetings between President Bush and President Asif Ali Zardari held in New York to assess how the US can be more helpful to Pakistan in facing the present security and economic challenges.
Boucher referred to the previous deal with the Taliban and added that it had proved unsuccessful. Appreciating the courage and determination of the people of tribal areas, Boucher said they have shown great courage but they are being killed by the terrorists. He especially mentioned the killing of over 150 elder leaders in the last couple of months in various suicide attacks in the tribal areas.
Boucher said during his stay he also met with the partners of Friends of Pakistan group. He especially appreciated and praised the bold steps taken by Pakistan recently against the terrorists in the Tribal Areas and said there are a threat to Pakistan, Afghanistan and the world.
He said there should be political will to fight terror and urged all the political forces and people to join hands to face the terrorists. He said a meeting of the envoys of the Friends of Pakistan was held here at President House which was presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari and attended by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, ambassadors of UAE, Saudi Arabia and other members.
He said there will be systematic support to Pakistan from FOP group for various projects. He said the first meeting of the FOP was held in New York and the next meeting will be held in the UAE which will finalise the strategy to extend help to Pakistan.
Replying to a question, he said, the training of Frontier Constabulary in NWFP is ongoing cooperation between the two countries. Replying to a question about news based on the reports prepared by US agencies regarding Pakistan's future, Richard Boucher said the news based on the reports was wrong. He said no such reports have been prepared by the US agencies regarding future of Pakistan,
He said America has already announced $110 million for the help of those who have been displaced due to the disturbed situation in the tribal areas. Regarding energy crisis being faced by Pakistan, Richard Boucher said US has been extending help to Pakistan for alternate sources of energy.
He said Pakistan has great potential for various types of energy including coal and assured the US would extend help in exploring these types of energy.
Also on Monday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani and US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher met at the PM House. The meeting was attended by Adviser to PM on Interior Rehman Malik, Adviser on National Security Mehmood Ali Durrani, US Ambassador Anne W Patterson and other senior officials, says a press release issued here.
Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher called on Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office on Monday.
Bilateral relations, counter-terrorism cooperation, and international and regional issues of mutual interest were discussed. The foreign minister noted that the third session of Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue, held in Washington in September, had contributed substantively to the two sides' efforts towards deepening bilateral cooperation in diverse areas and building a broad-based and long-term relationship.
Pakistan-US cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism was also discussed during the meeting. Qureshi highlighted government's three-pronged strategy -combining political, economic development and security tracks - and reaffirmed Pakistan's firm resolve to combat terrorism and extremism.
Qureshi underscored that Pakistan desires a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. He noted that the forthcoming visit of the Afghan Foreign Minister as well as the mini-jirga meeting in Islamabad would help move the process forward.
Boucher appreciated Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts and contribution to regional peace and stability. The foreign minister reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to work closely with the international partners in this regard. The foreign minister and the assistant secretary also exchanged views on the Friends of Democratic Pakistan group and agreed that this provided a very useful forum to contribute to Pakistan's efforts to address the current challenges.
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