Clinton, Zardari for joint efforts to combat terror
The agreement came at a 30 minutes one-to-one meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad, Pakistan Television said. The meeting was followed by delegation-level talks.
Clinton is on maiden first fence-mending visit to Islamabad after relations between the two countries were strained by testy exchanges, following the unilateral US raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2.
Issues related to Pak-US cooperation in the war against terrorism figured at the meeting, PTV said. Extremism was impeding peace and development in the region, the two leaders agreed.
Pakistan had contributed a lot to the campaign against terrorism and militancy, acknowledged the visiting dignitary, who stressed the imperative of greater security cooperation between the allies.
Zardari said Pakistan, playing the role of a frontline state in the battle against the scourge, had paid a big price in terms of casualties and economic losses. He asked the world to help his country in overcoming the problem.
Zardari and Clinton led their respective sides at the delegation-level talks, also attended by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, Inter-Services Intelligence chief Gen. Shuja Pasha and others.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and US Ambassador Cameron Munter were also present on the occasion.
Political analyst Syed Nazir Momand believed Clinton had pressed Pakistan to play a more proactive role in the fight against insurgents. She would also try to convince the ally not to increase its tilt towards China, he said.
The counterterrorism war could not succeed without Islamabad's cooperation, said Rustam Shah Momand, the former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan. The US was following a carrot-and-stick policy towards Pakistan, he told Pajhwok Afghan News.
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