Wednesday, March 24, 2010

US and Pakistan seek to mend relations

Pakistan also hold Taliban leaders and will not turn them over to the US or Afghanistan. No doubt this will be discussed as well. Pakistan is no doubt concerned that the US is helping India with nuclear technology but not Pakistan. I wonder if there is really any concern about the US drone strikes in Pakistan. I expect that they are condoned or at the very least tolerated. The few bleats made upon occasion about violation of sovereignty are just a bone thrown to public opinion to keep the masses at bay. This is from the BBC.


US and Pakistan seek better ties
The US and Pakistan are beginning a new chapter in relations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

She was speaking in Washington at the start of talks with her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Mistrust between the US and Pakistan, a key ally in the war against militants, has reached new lows in recent months.

Mrs Clinton acknowledged there had been disagreements. Mr Qureshi said it was time to look forward. Security, energy and economic ties will be discussed.

"It is the start of something new," said Mrs Clinton as two days of meetings got under way in the US capital.

"Our countries have had our misunderstandings and disagreements in the past and there are sure to be more disagreements in the future."

Mr Qureshi said an improved relationship between the two countries "is good for Pakistan, good for America and good for international peace, security and prosperity".

He also sought a "constructive" US role on disputed Kashmir and "non-discriminatory" access to energy.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan says recent mistrust between the two sides has been fuelled by a surge in US drone strikes near the Afghan border. Pakistan also complains that promised US aid has not been delivered.

For its part the US wants Pakistan to do more to combat militants and says hundreds of visas for US officials have been withheld.

Nuclear issue

The two sides are holding a week-long "strategic dialogue". Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani and the head of the ISI intelligence agency Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha are also taking part, as are top US defence officials.

Our correspondent says one of the main issues for discussion will be possible nuclear co-operation between the two sides.

Pakistan has long wanted the US to provide it with a civilian nuclear deal, similar to the one given to India.

Pakistani leaders say such co-operation would go a long way in helping the country deal with its current power shortage.

While some sort of understanding between on two sides is possible, any concrete accord is unlikely, our correspondent says.

Continued fears over Pakistan's proliferation record remain a major stumbling block. In particular, US officials want to question Dr AQ Khan, the disgraced former head of Pakistan's nuclear programme.

Dr Khan admitted to being involved in the transfer of nuclear technology to countries such as Iran and North Korea, which oppose the US.

Earlier this week Pakistan's government sought court permission to question Dr Khan over what it says is new information which has come to light about his role in proliferation.

The application is being heard in Lahore high court while talks continue between Mrs Clinton and Mr Qureshi.

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