News / Asia

US-Pak Meeting Generates Hopes for Long-Term Partnership

US-Pak Meeting Generates Hopes for Long-Term Partnershipi
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October 24, 2013 10:34 PM
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington and his meeting with President Obama this week came at a time when the two countries have been trying to repair relations, damaged by U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan. But experts in Washington believe that the visit helped a great deal in overcoming some of the low points the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has seen. VOA’s Kokab Farshori looks at where ties between Washington and Islamabad go from here.
Kokab Farshori
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington and his meeting with President Obama this week came at a time when the two countries have been trying to repair relations, damaged by U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan.  But experts in Washington believe that the visit helped a great deal in overcoming some of the low points the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has seen. 

The meeting at the White House remained focused on the issues where each country seeks cooperation from the other.  For President Obama, Pakistan’s cooperation on a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan featured importantly.

"I am confident, working together, we can achieve a goal that is good for Afghanistan, but also helps to protect Pakistan over the long term," said President Obama.

Prime Minister Sharif said he hopes for the end of U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan.

"I also brought up the issue of drones in our meeting, emphasizing the need for an end to such strikes," said Prime Minister Sharif.

Some Washington experts such as Moeed Yusuf of the United States Institute of Peace say one should look at the long-term prospects of such meetings rather than immediate outcomes.

"I think this was about cementing and reiterating that this relationship is strong, it’s needed, it’s important, and it’s not only important because of Afghanistan.  It is important no matter what happens there and beyond 2014," said Yusuf.

As the new leadership in Islamabad begins a relationship with the United States, the two countries need to remain engaged on a long-term basis. That's according to Daniel Markey of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a recent book on Pakistan.

"The United States needs to be able to plan its exit, plan logistics. Those require Pakistan, for the most part, to get the supplies and materials out and plan a post-2014 future in Afghanistan.  They want some kind of certainty as to where Pakistan stands, and it’s just the beginning of that conversation with the new leadership in Islamabad," said Markey.

Some experts think that, in the past, U.S.-Pakistan relations remained focused on how well the leaders in Washington and Islamabad got along.  For the long-term strategic relationship, U.S.-Pakistan ties need to be institutionalized, says Yusuf.

"I think this relationship for too long has been about leaders, about individuals.  I think we really need to institutionalize this.  We already have a strategic dialogue framework.  If that is not the right one, we can set up another one.  But this needs to be done at the working level so that institutions connect," he said.

During the meeting, the issues of trade, education and Pakistan’s economy also came under discussion and experts believe issues like these can build a foundation for a more productive partnership between the two countries.

Watch related video from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:
Obama: Pakistan is Important Strategic Partneri
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October 24, 2013 4:24 AM
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday to seek an end to drone strikes and to discuss Pakistan's role in the region after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The two leaders also tackled some tough bilateral issues.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Roberto Pedro from: Republic of Texas
October 24, 2013 10:36 PM
Why are we talking with and giving billions to these duplicitous, unscrupulous vermin. They shelter our enemies and become offended when we dare to violate their sovereignty which they willingly surrendered to terrorists. There is no hope for a fair and productive relationship

In Response

by: Dan from: Illinois
October 25, 2013 2:10 PM
Wow are you serious, you sound like closeminded racist. Have you ever even been to Pakistan? You have no idea of the situation and by saying crap like this are only making cross cultural relations worse

by: yoshi from: Sapporo
October 24, 2013 7:59 PM
I do not know details about issues between US and Pakistan. But I am sure it is good to talk with each other. Yes, I hope talks would be held institutionally and regularly rather than irregularly being up to current leaders' mood.

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