News / Asia

Pakistan Pushes For Fundamental Change in Ties to US

Pakistan's foreign minister says he wants Wednesday's day-long series of meetings with U.S. officials in Washington to result in a fundamental change in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, and that could include a further expansion of military relations.  But the Pentagon cautioned against expectations of any specific announcements regarding aid or equipment sales.  

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi was on Capitol Hill Tuesday, meeting with members of Congress in advance of his meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior administration officials at Wednesday's Strategic Dialogue.

The Reuters News Agency quotes him as saying the dialogue is part of an effort "to bring about a qualitative difference" in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, changing it into what he called a "partnership."  He is quoted as saying he presented a "clear plan" to accomplish that.  Reuters reports Pakistan submitted a 56-page document ahead of the talks, which outlines what the country wants in such a partnership, including armed unmanned military aircraft and financial aid for its economy and infrastructure.

Pakistan is also believed to want a civilian nuclear power agreement with the United States, like the one India has.

But here at the Pentagon, Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said he does not expect specific announcements, at least on military programs. "I think it would be a mistake to in any way characterize it as a discussion of requests and replies.  This is much broader than that.  This is an attempt that really began very early in the Obama Administration to broaden, deepen and strengthen our long-term strategic relationship," he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke about the upcoming meetings on Monday, echoing Minister Qureshi's desire to significantly improve relations, but not providing any details. "What we are interested in is looking at the long term in the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, how we can strengthen our relationship and how we can help Pakistan in dealing with the security challenges that face them but also face us and NATO as well," he said.

After decades of mistrust, U.S.-Pakistan relations have improved in recent years, and there have been further improvements in recent months, as Pakistan has increased its efforts to defeat al-Qaida, the Taliban and related militant groups operating on its soil. The United States has responded with military sales and increased aid, including a $7.5-billion package last year.  Many in Pakistan believe it is time for more U.S. recognition of the country's cooperation, in the form of a further aid increase, and more high-technology military equipment.

But for some experts it's still not necessarily a clear picture.  They note that some members of Pakistan's intelligence service appear to still be helping the Taliban in an apparent effort to prevent the new Afghan government from becoming too strong.  And recent reports have questioned the motivations for Pakistan's recent arrests of senior Taliban leaders, saying it could be seeking to influence reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.

Morrell would not comment on any of that, but he did say this about U.S. and Pakistani goals regarding Afghanistan. "I think, broadly speaking, that the Pakistanis share the desire to live in peace and security with their neighbors.  And an essential component to that is for there to be progress made against the terrorists that are trying to undermine efforts towards developing greater peace and security in Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said.

But, without being specific, Morrell acknowledges that all sides might not agree on what he called "every particular tactical decision."  

Wednesday's dialogue will be co-chaired by Minister Qureshi and Secretary Clinton, but it will also include a prominent role for senior defense officials and military officers, including the chief of the Pakistani Army and the top U.S. military officer.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid