US backs Pakistan’s negotiations with militants

April 24th, 2008 - 1:08 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 24 (IANS) The US has expressed support for the new Pakistan government’s move to negotiate with militants who lay down their arms, saying it was the outcome - the end of Al Qaeda and other extremists - that matters. Richard Boucher, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, Wednesday lauded the Pakistani leadership’s avowed commitment to the war on terror.

He said negotiations and agreements with militants to end extremism “is not a new tactic, it’s got to be done in a way to make sure that it produces results, and the results are what matter, the outcome is what matters”.

“There has to be an end to Al Qaeda elements who are very dangerous, plotting and planning, not so much in the case of Swat valley but certainly in the case of Waziristan where these negotiations are going on and that is the outcome that matters and everybody has to be focused on that,” he told reporters here.

“The problem is that as in the past, the agreements are not enforced, the other side violates and then the Taliban and Al Qaeda activity starts up again,” he added.

According to Boucher, Pakistani and US officials regularly discuss counter-terrorism efforts in their meetings. The US is quite aware of Pakistan’s ideas and plans to solve the problems in the tribal areas, he added.

Boucher also took note of the April 10 constituent assembly poll in Nepal, calling it a “good election that we hope would produce a better future” for the country.

However, he gave no indication of a rethink of US policy on Nepal following the Maoist victory there.

Washington still regards the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist a terrorist organisation although the group formally laid down weapons in 2006 and joined the interim coalition government last year.

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