Pakistani FM admits differences with US


Islamabad : Pakistan Foreign Minister Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar Sunday admitted ‘difference of opinion’ with the United States but said both sides want to remove reservations.

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Talking to reporters at the Lahore international airport upon arrival from ASEAN meeting in Indonesia, she described her meeting with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Indonesia as ‘very positive.’

She said Clinton emphasized the need for Pakistan and the US to ‘go back to the Strategic Dialogue and get the relationship back on track.’

The US Secretary of State also emphasized that both countries need to remove whatever reservations both sides have about each other.

‘We have strategic convergence in goals and objectives but there are certain operational issues on which sometimes differences of opinion arise,’ the Foreign Minister said. Ms. Khar said she had a 45-minute meeting with the US secretary of state and she wanted another detailed meeting to discuss all issues.

When asked about Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks urging India to take the lead in the region, Ms. Khar said Pakistan will not accept the supremacy of any country in South Asia and even the US recognises that Islamabad’s role in the region is probably the most important.

‘Supremacy is out of question. Pakistan will not accept anyone’s supremacy. Pakistan is a sovereign state and will keep intact its sovereignty and strategic importance in the region through the pursuit of an effective foreign policy,’ she said.

‘Pakistan’s role in this region is probably the most important now and the US recognises this,” the foreign minister said.

‘If the US recognises India ’s role, in the same way it recognises Pakistan ’s role. We have to have a reality-based and pragmatic approach and no one downplays Pakistan’s current strategic significance or importance, not the US , China , or even India.’

While protecting its position in the region, Pakistan will continue to work for peace with all its neighbours, she said.

‘(This is) only for the fact that Pakistan wants peace and stability for its own people,” she added.

The foreign minister said Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has already responded to the US Secretary of State remarks that Pakistan does not want ‘any headmaster’ in the region.