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Pak, US striving to bring breadth to ties: Haqqani

WASHINGTON: Pakistan and United States are working to bring predictability and breadth to their relationship through strategic dialogue in contrast with transactional nature of the past bilateral ties, Islamabad’s ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani said.
He also told a gathering of American experts and South Asian policy analysts at Washington’s Atlantic Council that Pakistan seeks peaceful relations with its neighbors India and Afghanistan on the basis of mutual trust and respect.
“We have decided to move past the transactional nature of the relationship —- and that means we have to create a level of predictability and some breadth in the relationship through the mechanism of strategic dialogue,” he observed after touching upon ups and downs in Pakistan-US relations over the past decades during which their ties centered on security considerations.
Elaborating his point, Haqqani cited three rounds of high-level strategic dialogue between the two countries this year, which, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, represents the most extensive US engagement with any country in the world.
“That basically reassures Pakistan that this time around the US is not going to walk away in any precipitating manner as they did soon after the imposition of Pressler (amendment) sanctions following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Haqqani said in a discussion moderated by Shuja Nawaz, who heads South Asia Center at the Council.

During the interaction, the ambassador also drew attention to close anti-terror and intelligence cooperation between the two sides and said it has helped foil several terrorist plots.
“Partnership means that you will disagree sometimes. There will not be a hundred percent congruence of views or of interests. But, at the same time, we are committed to the fact that we are America’s allies and the Americans are our allies. We have to understand each other’s concerns. We may sometimes disagree on what we want.”
He explained that Pakistan looks at a lot of problems from the regional perspective while the US looks at things in a global context.
Haqqani also felt that Pakistan progressing on the democratic path will also bolster bilateral relations.
“Things have changed (in comparison with the past). Pakistan intends to remain a democracy. Our military and our civilian leaders are both committed to making that democratic process work. And that makes us partners as democracies in bringing stability to what is essentially a very difficult and complex region.”


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