The United State’s (US) National Security Adviser Tom Donilon has said ties with Pakistan in ongoing circumstances had become difficult, but they remained essential as well.
Delivering a public speech on the US policy towards Asia at the Asia Society, Donilon said crisis no longer loomed over US relationship with Pakistan, as over the past year, both countries had worked hard to overcome the period of strain in their ties.
“We have had, as you might imagine, as has been clear, some difficult issues, but I do think we are at a point here where we don’t have a crisis hanging over the relationship. We continue to work intensively with the Pakistanis on the kinds of issues, and we’ll continue to do so,” head added.
The US national security adviser said they had had with Pakistan a very important partnership in the counter-terrorism area. “And indeed the Pakistanis have suffered thousands of casualties in the battle against extremism.”
He said Pakistan had been an important partner of the US in its efforts against the most extreme elements.
“We have had difficult issues between the US and Pakistan. And indeed we had a long period of time when it felt like our relationship always had a crisis. We obviously had a difficult time after we executed successfully the Abbottabad raid against Osama bin Laden in May 2011 and there was a reaction.”
He also referred to Islamabad closing the crucial ground lines of communications to Afghanistan after the “terrible” cross border incident in November 2011 in which two dozen Pakistani soldiers were killed.
“We have worked through these issues. I think, actually are now at a point where we’re having broader conversations without the overlay of some crisis, and talking about kind of more fundamental strategic interests that we have in common,” he said.
The national security adviser said the US and Pakistan had in common a stable Afghanistan at the end of this process, and the two countries were working together on that.
“We both have in common the fight against extremist elements, and we continue to work on that,” he said.
Referring to the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, Donilon termed it as a milestone towards strengthening of democracy in the country, and said the US would be “watching that”.