New US envoy assures Pakistan of strengthening bilateral relations

ISLAMABAD : New US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on Wednesday said President Barack Obama during his visit to India next week would bring a message of peace to the region. In an exclusive maiden interview with Radio Pakistan he said the US President would convey to India that Pakistan and India can find solution to the regional issues by working together.The Ambassador told the state media that the United States would support any effort by Pakistan and India to resolve the longstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir.When his attention was drawn towards human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir,  Cameron Munter said this is important for Pakistan and India to talk on this issue.  The United States has been publishing reports every year on state of human rights around the world, he added.About civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan similar to India the US envoy acknowledged that nuclear power can play an important role in bridging the gap between demand and supply of energy in Pakistan.He pointed out that civil nuclear arrangement with India took many years to materialize and the United States is committed to remain engaged with Pakistan to help it overcome its energy problem.Referring to bilateral relationship with Pakistan, the US Ambassador stated in categorical terms that it is not transactional in nature and based on mutual respect, common values and how to work together.He expressed the confidence that during his next visit to the United States, President Asif Ali Zardari would take up with him specific ideas for cooperation in economic, energy and military fields.

He said the agenda of talks between President Obama and President Zardari would focus on how to strengthen the strategic relationship further. The process would be carried forward when President Obama would visit Pakistan separately next year.He pointed out that Obama is perhaps the only American President who has long relationship with Pakistan that predates his presidency. His visit to Pakistan would be a sort of emotional and diplomatic homecoming for President Obama.Replying to a question, he said the United States very strongly supports Pakistan’s efforts to seek trade and not aid, as it is the way to job generation and stability.He said the United States was appreciative of the European Union move to open its markets for Pakistani goods and the US administration is committed to do the same. “The United States is also committed to the proposal of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones,” he said.

Munter spoke high of Pakistan’s contribution and sacrifices in the war on terror and said the United States would provide every possible cooperation to Pakistan to ensure that this part of the world should get rid of terrorists.He appreciated the Government of Pakistan for ordering an inquiry into reports of alleged extra-judicial killings during war on terror.He said, “We share common values in defending human rights and efforts should be made to prevent mistakes.”Responding to a question about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, he said, “We all need to support efforts of the Afghan Government to seek solution of the problems in that country.” He hoped that Pakistan would be supportive of the process – App