Bush-Gilani statement papers over key issues (Lead)

July 29th, 2008 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 29 (IANS) The joint statement released after Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met US President George W. Bush papers over key issues like Washington’s perception that Islamabad is not doing enough to curb terrorism along the border with Afghnaistan and US strikes in Pakistani territory, one of which came a few hours before the meeting. While acknowledging that terrorism poses a common threat to Pakistan, the US and the international community, the two leaders reiterated Monday that “success in countering terrorism will require a comprehensive strategy, including increased security, improved governance, and opportunity for socio-economic development for the people especially in the less-developed regions of Pakistan”.

Reaffirming their commitment to their long-term Strategic Partnership, Bush and Gilani attached importance to the next round of the Strategic Dialogue in September and regularly thereafter to review issues of mutual interest.

The joint statement also mentioned encouraging “the Pakistan-India composite dialogue process to reduce tensions, build trust, and resolve all outstanding issues”.

The US promised to help Pakistan enhance its defence capabilities, especially in counter-terrorism, through training and equipment. It will cooperate with the Pakistani Frontier Corps and other Pakistani security forces on the front lines in the fight against extremism.

The two countries will also renew joint efforts to root out extremism along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, including in the Northwest Frontier Province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan.

The two leaders agreed that the focus of the broad-based Pakistan-US relationship should remain on ensuring the well-being of the people by assisting Pakistan implement its national development agenda in a comprehensive manner.

They welcomed recent efforts in the US Congress to extend the US’ assistance commitment to Pakistan to help address its most urgent needs, including education, agriculture, and energy.

The US will provide $115.5 million in food security assistance to Pakistan, including $42.5 million over the next nine months, the statement released by the White House said.

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