US welcomes Afghan-India strategic partnership
WASHINGTON (PAN): The United States on Tuesday welcomed the strategic partnership agreements between India and Afghanistan announced during the New Delhi visit of the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, a US official said.
The US State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said she would first say that they were seeing the same reports that India and Afghanistan would soon announce a strategic partnership that India was going to participate in the new Silk Road Initiative.
“Those are both things that we very much welcome,” she said in response to a question. She however, refused to answer to questions about news reports of meetings between the US and Haqqani leaders.
“I will say to you again what we've been saying for some two weeks very firmly with regard to the Haqqani network: Job one in our relationship with Pakistan is for us to work on the terror and the problem that they are posing to Pakistan, to the US, to Afghanistan,” she said.
“The only other thing I would say here is it's patently ridiculous to think that the American government would be dictating to any other government who should or shouldn't join its ranks,” she said, noting the US was not in the business of dictating to other governments who should and shouldn't be a member of their ranks.
Nuland said there had not been any change in the US position on reconciliation. It was supporting an Afghan-led process of reconciliation trend. So the US’s efforts were in support of what the Afghans were up to, insisting, as did the Afghans, that anybody who was reconciled or would be pursuing reconciliation had to renounce violence, she added.
They had to sever their ties with al-Qaida and abide by the laws and the constitution of Afghanistan, including respecting the rights of women and ethnic minorities, she said.
These were our and the Afghans' criteria, but she did not comment on any specific conversations that were going on under that umbrella, added Nuland who concluded that those were the criteria that they required and so did the Afghans.
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