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Zardari asks US to stop criticising Pakistan

22 October, 2011

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Zardari exchanges views with Hillary Clinton US Secretary of State, during meeting with US Delegation at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
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ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday said that public criticism of Pakistan's role undermined its common struggle against terrorism in the region.

Talking to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at Presidency, the president underscored the importance of enhanced consultations between Pakistan and the United States on the basis of mutual respect, sovereignty and interests.

During the one-on-one and delegation-level meetings, the two sides discussed host of issues relating to Pak-US relations, fight against terrorism, regional situation with particular reference to Afghanistan.

Zardari said, "Our people and the leadership is among the first ones to fully realise and comprehend the threat posed by violent mindset which is bred on the premises of deprivation and fuelled by sense of inequality."

Discussing situation in Afghanistan, the president reiterated that Pakistan supports all efforts for regional peace, prosperity and connectivity, based on existing realities of the region.

He said Pakistan, being the immediate neighbour, has abiding interest in the peace, stability, security and prosperity of Afghanistan and will continue to support every effort in this regard.

He said Pakistan supports Afghan-led and Afghan owned reconciliation process.

Clinton appreciated Pakistan's contribution in promoting reconciliation. She said that US administration desired continued partnership with Pakistan. She agreed with the president's strong emphasis on promoting trade rather than aid as the vehicle for development cooperation and assured that the US administration was working to facilitate enhanced market access for Pakistani products.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday ruled out any unilateral action against terrorists' safe havens inside Pakistan saying, "We want action against them in concert with our strategic partners like Pakistan."

During her roundtable talks with anchorpersons of various TV channels, she responded to various questions on Pakistan-US relations, particularly their joint efforts to fight the war on terror. When asked if the United States was pondering to send its troops inside Pakistan, she categorically said this option was not being considered.

"We don't want to take action unilaterally, we want to act in concert with our strategic partners like Pakistan and other allies." Replying to a question regarding her reported warning to Islamabad, Clinton said the warning was: "If we don't handle safe havens together the consequences could be terrific to both the US and Pakistan."

In response to another query that ISI was involved in attack on the US embassy in Kabul through Haqqani network, she categorically said," We have no evidence of that."

Clinton admitted that the United States had held one exploratory meeting with the Haqqani network before a series of massive attacks.

"In fact, the Pakistani government officials helped to facilitate such a meeting," she said. But "we're not in any kind of negotiations. We've had one preliminary meeting just to see if they would show up."

End.

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