News / Asia

Pakistani President to Meet Obama at White House

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (file photo)
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday, talks expected to focus on the Pakistani government's efforts against extremist forces. The talks come as the U.S. is offering Pakistan additional military and intelligence support for that battle.

President Zardari's talks with Mr. Obama in the Oval Office come about a month after the Obama administration assessment of its Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy.

The unclassified version of that assessment called progress in the strategic partnership with Pakistan substantial but uneven, saying among other things that greater cooperation is required in denying safe heavens to extremist groups along the border with Afghanistan.

President Obama and his administration have focused particular effort on the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, involving high level contacts at numerous levels between officials and leaders from the two sides.

Speaking in December, Mr. Obama said the U.S. remains focused on disrupting, dismantling and defeating al-Qaida in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and preventing it from having the capacity to threaten the U.S. and allies in the future.

But while he praised Pakistani military offensives in the tribal regions, Mr. Obama said more needs to be done.

"Nevertheless, progress has not come fast enough," said the president.  "So, we will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with.  At the same time, we need to support the economic and political development that is critical to Pakistan's future."

U.S. officials have stressed their view that Pakistan has finally fully recognized the threat it faces from extremist groups, what Defense Secretary Robert Gates referred to in December as a "syndicate of terror."

In December, Gates emphasized the importance of a democratic Pakistani government knowing that the U.S. commitment will be long term.

"The relationship that we have with them and the more confident that they are that we have a long term relationship in mind with Pakistan, then I think the more willing they are going to be to take action that serves both our interests," he said.

With the approval of the U.S. Congress, the United States dramatically increased aid to Pakistan in 2009 with a $7.5 billion multi-year year plan.  Additional development and other assistance has been added, including aid to help Pakistan deal with devastation from recent flooding.

President Zardari is in Washington to attend the memorial service for Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who died in December at the age of 69.

Both that memorial, as well as President Obama's talks with the Pakistani president are closed to press coverage, though the White House is expected to issue some sort of readout on the Oval Office talks.

The talks come just two days after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Islamabad and met with President Zardari and other leaders.

Mr. Biden, in trying to dispel misconceptions in Pakistan about the U.S. role, said the United States is not waging a war on Pakistan but fighting violent extremists who, in Biden's words, violate Pakistan's sovereignty and corrupt its good name."

In December, President Obama has said he looks forward to visiting Pakistan this year.  But a White House official told VOA that the Obama-Zardari talks on Friday will not produce a date for such a visit.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs