Pakistan’s Khar to meet Clinton to discuss strains
LONDON: Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday urged Washington to establish a “predictable, transparent and sustainable” relationship ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to repair damaged ties.
Khar said she would meet Clinton in London on Thursday; where both are due to attend an international conference on Somalia, to try to heal a rift caused by a Nato air attack last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
“I will be looking forward to meet Secretary Clinton on the sidelines of the Somalia meeting,” Khar told reporters after talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
“We hope that, for the goals that we share that of peace and stability within the region …, Pakistan and the United States will be able to foster their ties. However, there are certain pre-conditions for that.”
Khar said Pakistan’s parliament was currently looking at “terms of re-engagement” with the United States.
She said relations must be predictable, transparent and sustainable, and pursued in the two countries’ mutual interests.
Khar added that, in the past, “a different type of relationship has been pursued in the dark of night and a different type in daylight”.
“We hope to be able to combine the two and bring this relationship credibility (in the eyes of) the people of Pakistan,” she said.
The United States sees Pakistan as critical to its efforts to wind down the war in neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led Nato forces are battling a stubborn Taliban insurgency.
In particular, it wants Pakistani cooperation in tackling the Haqqani network, the Afghan insurgent group now seen as the gravest threat to Nato and Afghan troops.
The Nov. 26 Nato attack on the border with Afghanistan exacerbated a crisis that erupted after US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in an unannounced raid on Pakistani soil in May last year, and sent relations between the two countries to their chilliest levels in years.
Ties between were also severely hurt a year ago by the killing of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor.
Khar said there had been “a series of events which were deemed to be crossing the red lines which were pre-established, clearly articulated, by Pakistan in its partnership with the United States and our Nato partners”.