View Full Version : U.S. Assures Pakistanis Of Sustained Partnership

08-11-2009, 08:41 AM
US assures Pakistanis of sustained partnership



WASHINGTON: The United States, concerned over its negative image in Pakistan as reflected in a recent poll, Monday reaffirmed Washington’s pledge to help see off the key South Asian nation’s economic and security challenges.

‘Well, I saw that poll, and it’s obviously very concerning. We clearly have a lot of work to do,’ deputy spokesman at the State Department Robert Wood said at the daily briefing, when asked to comment on findings of a survey in Pakistan that said the majority of those surveyed did not see the US in a favourable light.

‘But I think the United States has been one of the largest contributors of humanitarian assistance, development assistance, to Pakistan. We need to obviously do a better job of telling our story to the Pakistani people and to others around the world.’

‘But the United States is committed to a set of values. We promote those values worldwide. We want to help Pakistan improve its economy, its security, to try to help the Pakistani people,’ he added.

Wood said the Obama Administration has ‘done a lot to address a lot of concerns in not only the Muslim world but in other parts of the world about our sincerity in dialogue and reaching out and trying to make the world a better place.’

‘And we’ll continue to do that. And I know the Secretary (Hillary Clinton) is very committed to that. Whenever she travels, she engages with citizens of all from all parts of society. And I think that’s a strong example of this Administration’s commitment. If you look at our aid numbers, they’re up. If you look at what we’re trying to do in Afghanistan, other places around the world, I think the US has a very good track record. We’ll continue to work on trying to tell our story better. There’s no question we need to do a better job of that.

‘But that’s a work in progress, and we’ll continue to work on it.’

Questioned if the US work toward betterment of the Pakistani people is undercut by the ongoing drone attacks against extremists hiding in Pakistani territory, the spokesman said ‘as standard practice, I don’t comment on that particular, we don’t comment on that particular issue.’

‘But let me just say we’re well aware of the challenges that the people of Pakistan face,’ he stated.

‘We’re Pakistan’s partner. We’re with Pakistan in this battle against violent extremism, and we will be with them every step of the way.’

The US and Pakistan are cooperating closely in fighting terrorist in the Afghan border region since 9/11 attacks but experts say Washington’s abandonment of the region in the wake of 1989 Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and its policy of sanctions against Islamabad continue to cast their shadow on efforts to build mutual trust.

In his remarks, Wood noted that the challenges the United States faces in the Muslim world are difficult.

‘We’re under no illusions they’re difficult. But as the President (Barack Obama) said in his Cairo speech, the United States is a partner; it wants to reach out and engage Muslims around the world. The President is very sincere in that. And we will continue to do what we can to address their concerns and to tell our story a bit better, because we do have a very positive story to tell, not just in the Middle East but in other parts of the world.’

On concerns the Pakistanis may have about US deepening its ties with Pakistan’s neighboring rival India, Wood said Washington would continue to work with both countries to face off common challenges.

‘Well, the first thing I would say to Pakistanis is that this isn’t a zero-sum game. We have a very strong and growing partnership with India.

‘We have a partnership with Pakistan that we’re trying to improve on. And we need to get away from these views of if you’re, if I’m, if we’re a supporter or we have a good relationship with India, that impacts the relationship with Pakistan. I understand that that’s how people in the region see it, but I think we really need to move away from this type of view in the 21st century.’

He noted that countries of that region have some very difficult challenges to face.

‘As I’ve said, we are doing what we can to try to support them as they confront these challenges, not only from terrorism but from poverty, illiteracy, drought, disease.’

‘We’ll continue to work with both India and Pakistan and other countries to try to deal with these challenges.’

‘But we have to move away from these old stereotypes and work with one another in the 21st century to defeat these common enemies that we do face, as I said, drought, disease, hunger, illiteracy, poverty, terrorism.’ — APP