Home Indian Muslim U.S. deputy secretary of state says bringing strong message to support Pakistan

U.S. deputy secretary of state says bringing strong message to support Pakistan

By Xinhua

Islamabad : Visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said here Saturday that he had brought a strong message of support, friendship and trust for the government and people of Pakistan.

    Speaking at a news conference in the U.S. embassy, Negroponte said that during his talks with the Pakistani leadership, he reiterated the United States' desire to have long-term, multi-faceted and strategic partnership between the two countries.

    He said that the continuation of that relationship was not only in the interest of the two countries but for the region as a whole.

    Negroponte said that it was in this backdrop that the two countries were having strategic dialogues and the next round is expected to take place in September or October this year.

    He said that delay in resumption of the dialogue occurred because of resignation of his predecessor in June last year and now he himself will be heading the American delegation for the next round of talks.

    He said that during his talks with the Pakistan foreign secretary they discussed the issues to be covered in the next round.

    Replying to a question, Negroponte said that there was no hidden agenda of his visit.

    He said that his country valued Pakistan's active role and commitment in the war against terrorism and the sacrifices made by it for this cause.

    He agreed that the war against terrorism could not be won on the battlefield alone and said that it was a struggle of ideas having cultural, social, political and economical elements as well.

    He said that during talks with Pakistani leaders he expressed U.S. strong support for the development of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

    He said that an American assistance program of 750 million U.S. dollars for the region will be implemented from the next few months with 150 million dollars a year for five years.

    He said that FATA remained neglected in the past and people of that area did not have benefits of modernization that have occurred elsewhere in the country.

    He said that this was American contribution not only for the benefit of the FATA people but also towards war against terrorism.

    Asked whether the United States was playing any mediatory role between the leadership and politicians in Pakistan, Negroponte said that it was for Pakistani political actors to resolve issues, adding it was not appropriate for a foreign government to enter into that kind of details.

    He said that it was important for Pakistan to make continued progress towards democracy, and in this connection pointed out that elections are due at the end of the year or beginning of the next year.

    He said that it would be a positive development in advancement of democracy and hoped that elections will be held in a free, fair and transparent manner.

    Responding to a question about the Pakistani president's uniform, he said that it was for President Pervez Musharraf to make a decision and expressed the confidence that the president would make the decision based on all relevant considerations. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan