WASHINGTON: As the Parliament in Islamabad prepared to debate recommendations on a viable way forward in Pakistan-US relations, the White House underlined the importance of the bilateral cooperation including the Pakistani help in elimination of al-Qaeda militants over the past several years.
“Our message hasn’t changed, which is that we consider that relationship very important, not least because of its importance to our national security interests,” President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney said.
The White House Press Secretary was asked about the US message for Pakistan on the eve of a Parliamentary discussion on relationship between the two countries, which were seriously hurt by deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in Nato cross-border strikes on November 26 last year.
Carney acknowledged the relationship as being “complicated,” one “that requires a lot of attention, and we give it that attention.”
“And we will continue to work with Pakistan on our shared goals of eradicating the threat of terrorism in the region, Carney said.”
The spokesman would not specifically address the contentious issue of strikes carried out by US drones against militant targets in the Pakistani tribal areas along the Afghan border but remarked the US understands challenges in the relationship.
“On Pakistan, again, without addressing the specifics of your question, we understand that there are challenges in the relationship.
We work very closely with our Pakistani counterparts and we are very clear about what our objectives are in terms of American national security interests,” Carney replied, when his comments were sought about the Pakistani anger on drone attacks on its territory.
According to reports, an end to violation of Pakistani sovereignty with drone strikes is likely to be a key issue in the Parliamentary discussion beginning Tuesday.