Islamabad: U.S. Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton leading a high level US delegation called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr today.
During one-on-one and the delegation level meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Ms. Clinton discussed host of issues relating to Pak-US relations, fight against militancy, regional situation with particular reference to the situation obtaining in Afghanistan.
The President underscored the importance of enhanced consultations between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect, sovereignty and interests.
He said that public criticism of Pakistan’s role undermines our common struggle against militancy in the region.
He said that our people and the leadership was among the first ones to fully realize and comprehend the threat posed by violent mindset which is bred on the premises of deprivation and fuelled by sense of inequality.
The President counted innumerable human sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fight against militancy and extremism and never shirked to put in even more sacrifices when the world peace was at stake.
He said that 30,000 innocent civilians along with 5,000 military and police officers laid their lives for the cause of not only securing our own lands from the clutches of militant mind-set but also to contribute our share—indeed the lion share—in making this region, specifically, and the world a peaceful place to inhabit.
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. The President said that 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 that besides being immediate neighbours, Pakistan and Afghanistan share many issues of similar nature thus making us direct affectee of any development across the border. He said that Pakistan supports Afghan-led and Afghan owned reconciliation process. Ms. Clinton appreciated Pakistan’s contribution in promoting reconciliation.
Thanking the President for meeting Secretary Clinton 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 U.S. administration was working to facilitate enhanced market access for Pakistani products.
Ms. Clinton also appreciated the economic reform initiatives taken by Pakistan which involved making difficult decisions and tough choices.
Affirming U.S. continued support for the democracy in Pakistan, she also applauded unanimous resolution adopted by All Parties Conference recently.
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