Negroponte due next month
August 19, 2007
WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Mahmud Ali Durrani has stated both Pakistan and the US are committed to long-term relations and disclosed that US deputy secretary of state would visit Pakistan next month to further expand the strategic partnership.
“Both governments want to have a long-term and broad-based relationship,” he stated in an interview with Voice of America.
The ambassador expressed the confidence in response to a question that the two countries would be able to overcome any differences on way to their sustained relationship.
Citing the coming round of strategic dialogue between the two allies, the envoy said US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte was due in Islamabad next month to advance bilateral strategic cooperation in various fields.
The two countries affirmed strategic partnership in March 2006 during President Bush’s visit when the US leader and President Pervez Musharraf resolved to consolidate their cooperation in wide-ranging areas, including education, economy, security, energy and science and technology.
“Pakistan is a key partner in the regional fight against terrorism and has deployed about 100,000 forces along its border with Afghanistan to combat terrorist threat,” said Durrani.
Meanwhile, the State Department has said in case of actionable intelligence about high value targets, Washington will do everything it can to act on that information but that it would act in a way that does not harm its relations with its allies.
“We are confident that we will be able to do that in such a way that we don’t harm our relations with any states that may be in question,” spokesman Sean McCormack said at a regular briefing. He was asked to comment on recent statements by American presidential contenders that the US would be prepared to take unilateral action against terrorists who may be hiding on Pakistani side of the Afghan border.
Pakistan has rejected such statements and termed them as counterproductive to efforts in the fight against terrorism. Asked if those kinds of comments are dangerous, McCormack said, “You know, that’s presidential politics” and pointed out that free speech in campaigns should not be mixed with the administration’s foreign policy.
“There’s a thing called free speech in presidential campaigns in the United States. There’s also a thing called the Executive Branch and we have responsibility for the foreign policy of the United States, and I don’t think anybody’s going to confuse those two things,” he said, explaining the difference between the US foreign policy and statements in political campaigns.