US pleased Pune attack did not derail India-Pakistan talksFebruary 19th, 2010 - 12:11 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Feb 19 (IANS) The United States has said it is “encouraged” and “pleased” that the Pune terror attack did not derail the upcoming dialogue between India and Pakistan that has a “vitally important” relationship to stability in the region.
“… we are encouraged that notwithstanding the tragic attack in India, that this is not derailing important dialogue between Pakistan and India,” State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters Thursday.
“So I think this indicates that we have momentum on our side, that there are lots of things to be encouraged by, but I don’t think we’re at the point where we can declare victory,” he said when asked if recent arrest of top Taliban leaders pointed to a victory against them.
Asked how the US viewed the upcoming Feb 25 meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, Crowley said: “This is vitally important. There have been times in the past where India and Pakistan have had formal and informal dialogue.”
“We think that this is a vitally important relationship to stability in the region and we’re most pleased with the political courage shown by leaders on both sides that notwithstanding the attack which was directly aimed at derailing this dialogue, that there is this political commitment to move forward with talks.”
“And we think that’s going to be extremely important,” he said adding US was “totally supportive” of meetings between the two neighbours and looked forward to seeing the results.
“I think the real key is: What are the expectations on both sides? But we think that there are significant issues,” Crowley said when asked about US expectations from the India Pakistan meeting.
“There are tensions, obviously, in the relationship, but they can be best resolved through dialogue. And India and Pakistan share a threat of extremism and we ,,, are totally supportive of these meetings and look forward to seeing the results.”
On Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani’s recent demand for more military aid to come at par with Indian military, Crowley said: “We have a significant military relationship and provide security assistance.”
“But we have restructured the nature of our assistance so that more of it is civilian in nature, particular emphasis on energy and the delivery of electricity,” he said.
“We have a different balance than we have in the past in terms of making sure that not only can we help Pakistan meet its security needs, but more importantly helping Pakistan with the delivery of services to improve the lives of the average Pakistani citizen in all parts of Pakistan.
“That is going to be, in the long term, the best way to combat extremism.”
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