Rassoul, Clinton support stable Pakistan
WASHINGTON (PAN): Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul on Wednesday said that a destabilised Pakistan was neither in the interest of Afghanistan nor the United States. He hailed Pakistan as a brotherly neighbour.
“A peaceful, stable, democratic Afghanistan is definitely in the interest of Pakistan. And a destabilized Pakistan is not in the interest of Afghanistan, nor United States,” Rassoul told reporters at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“So we need to work together to come out with a full understanding that we have a common enemy and we are linked to each other, and the stability and prosperity of one is in the interest of the other,” he said.
Besides other top Afghan officials accompanying Rassoul, Ambassador Eklil Hakimi was also present at the meeting with Clinton and other Americans.
“The United States is a friend and ally of Afghanistan and Pakistan is our neighbour of Afghanistan,” Rassoul said.
Responding to questions, Clinton said the US wants an honest, constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan.
“We remain committed through the recent ups and downs. We've been working through these difficulties and challenges,” she said.
“We have made it clear we respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. We also respect the democratic process that Pakistan is engaged in. We think it is actually quite significant that the democratically elected government, the democratically elected parliament is engaging in these matters,” Clinton added.
“We believe we have shared interests. We believe we have the same enemies. We believe that it's important to support counterterrorism against the insurgents who kill and maim tens of thousands of Pakistani people, who send teams across the border to kill and maim, you know, people in Afghanistan and to kill and maim our soldiers and others. So we actually think we have a very strong security interest and mutually shared objectives with Pakistan,” she said.
“But we also think supporting democracy and prosperity in Pakistan and stability in the region is good for Pakistan, it's good for Afghanistan, and it's good for the United States.
“So we are waiting to know, see the results of the parliament's debates, their recommendations to the government,” Clinton said when asked about the conditions being set by Pakistan to normalise its ties with the US, which are currently being discussed in its Parliament.
Rassoul would continue with his high-level meetings in Washington on Thursday.
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