WASHINGTON, June 22: The United States looks forward to working with the newly elected Pakistani prime minister and hopes to get back on track on “all of the things,” Washington wants to do in cooperation with the country, the State Department said Friday.
“We are pleased that the leadership issue appears to have been settled. We obviously look forward to working with the new prime minister,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
She was responding to journalists’ questions within hours of Raja Pervez Ashraf’s election, through a parliamentary vote, as the new prime minister of the country.
The spokesperson hoped that the development would “open space to continue to roll up our sleeves and get back on track with all of the things that we want to do with Pakistan.”
The spokesperson did not dwell on the issues of interest to the United States but relations between the two countries – that worked closely as counterterrorism partners in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks – have been seriously strained in recent years and remain stalemated over a number of issues.
Some of the divisive issues include continued American unilateral actions on Pakistani soil, still elusive US apology over Salala attacks, Islamabad’s closure of NATO supply routes into landlocked Afghanistan and the cross-border movement of Afghan Haqqani militants, who target US interests in Afghanistan.
The bilateral ties began to deteriorate last year when a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in Lahore. The discovery of Osama bin Laden and the American operation that killed the al-Qaeda chief in Abbottabad followed by the November 26,2011 strikes on Pakistan border posts, claiming lives of 24 Pakistani soldiers, dramatically pushed the relations to their lowest point in recent years.
At Friday’s briefing, Nuland renewed Washington’s position on the Haqqani network that the group – blamed for several attacks inside Afghanistan and allegedly having a sanctuary in tribal areas – needs to be squeezed from the Pakistani side.
Sources: MGCT, State Department
- AP sources: US mulls new covert raids in Pakistan (news.yahoo.com)
- US hopes Pakistan will resolve crisis lawfully (dawn.com)
- The darkest days of the US-Pakistan relationship (dawn.com)