Zardari asks US to honour Pakistan’s sovereignty

November 3rd, 2008 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Nov 3 (Xinhua) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari Monday called on the US to respect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and stop drone attacks that raise anti-America sentiments as well as cause outrage and uproar among the people, the Geo TV reported.”Continuing drone attacks on our territory, which result in loss of precious lives and property, are counterproductive and difficult to explain by a democratically elected government. It is creating a credibility gap,” Zardari said while meeting US top commander General David Howell Petraeus.

Zardari met the visiting US top commander and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher here at the President House, the report said.

He said the US leadership has affirmed respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, in the wake of drone attacks on Pakistani side of the border the government was under pressure to react more aggressively, he added.

Pakistan’s tribal areas have been witnessing missile attacks by suspected US drones, killing a number of civilians in the region. Pakistan has strongly protested the attacks, describing it as breach of international law honouring territorial integrity of a sovereign nation.

Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Salman Bashir, US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson and senior civil and military officials from the two sides were also present at the meeting.

The US Central Command’s new chief and the former commander of coalition forces in Iraq, also discussed security issues and the situation along the Afghan border with Pakistani Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar in Islamabad.

According to a defence ministry statement, Pakistan has strongly objected to repeated drone attacks on its territory and demanded an immediate stop to such activities.

“Both sides exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and stressed the need for enhanced cooperation to eliminate the scourge of terrorism,” the statement quoted Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar as saying.

The two sides discussed the security situation of the region with special focus on war on terror and Pak-Afghan border situation, according to News Network International (NNI) news agency.

Pakistan was keen to promote peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan because politically stable and prosperous Afghanistan was not only in the interest of Pakistan but of the whole region, said Mukhtar.

He also briefed Petraeus about the anti-terror efforts and the ongoing military operation against terrorists and violent extremist elements in the tribal areas.

The US delegation was also informed about the security needs of Pakistan, in order to enhance its operational capabilities to help in curbing the terrorist elements, the statement said.

Patraeus said they would consider the request of Pakistan in this regard.

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