Washington: The US discussions with Pakistan continue to focus on the US demand that the Government of Pakistan should take concerted action against safe havens and terrorist groups that threaten other countries in the region.
While acknowledging that there has been attempt to address the issue of safe havens and terrorist groups, the US has stated that it wants more action taken, and this continues to be a topic of conversation with Pakistan.
This was stated categorically by the US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Mark C. Toner at the daily press briefing here on Thursday. He was answering a pointed query on the rejection by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the proposal of putting sanctions on Pakistan for not taking actions against Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba.
The committee, chaired by the Senator Bob Corker, observed that Pakistan is expanding its nuclear program just to deal with the Indian aggression and there’s a threat of nuclear war between two countries and U.S. Government should play its role of mediation to normalize the tensions between the two countries.
When a journalist drew Toner’s attention to the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent South Asia visit and asked what really was the reason for skipping Pakistan in that important visit that took him to Bangladesh and India, he replied it doesn’t clearly indicate anything about the US relationship with Pakistan. Toner further said, the Secretary has been to Pakistan recently; he speaks often to senior Pakistani leadership. Specifically, he was in India for the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and took the opportunity to also visit Bangladesh – the first time he’s been there.
But as we’ve said many times, there’s no zero-sum game here. We need to have a very strong and robust relationship with India and we do – the world’s largest democracy. And we also want to have a strong relationship with Pakistan. It’s in the interests of the region to do so.
Toner went on to emphasise that the US relationship with Pakistan is strong and in the mutual interest of both countries, and also in the interest of the region. It’s not to say it’s not sometimes a challenging relationship, but we have a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, that we work quite closely with Pakistan on. And we believe, again, our relationship is strong, he observed.