America urges ‘robust action’

Hillary Clinton and Hina Rabbani Khar

ISLAMABAD: The Sunday’s attacks carried out by Afghan Taliban against the US-led multinational occupying forces impelled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to speak her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, seeking vital cooperation between Washington and Islamabad in counterterrorism.

Well-placed diplomatic sources told Media on Monday that Clinton called for joint actions by the United States and Pakistan as their shared responsibility to confront militants following the latest attacks in Afghanistan.However, Foreign Minister Khar while condemning the cowardly attacks emphasised the need for a political solution of the conflict and reiterated that Pakistan was committed to an Afghan-owned Afghan-led reconciliation process.Sources said they also discussed steps how the US and Pakistan could strengthen their strategic partnership against terrorism and extremism.

Hina informed Clinton about the completion of landmark parliamentary review towards strengthening the ownership of Pak-US relations.Later, the US Ambassador Cameron Munter in his meeting with Foreign Minister Hina deliberated upon the steps earlier discussed by them. “Pak-US relations and situation in Afghanistan dominated the discussion,” sources added.Sources in the Foreign Office said Hina conveyed to the US ambassador the importance of the parliamentary process that examined Pak-US relations in the aftermath of the Salala incident, and the historical nature of democratic ownership of a vital bilateral relationship for Pakistan.

The foreign minister told the ambassador that the parliamentary approval for a renewed relationship with the United States offered both countries a unique and unprecedented opportunity to establish a deeper relationship based on shared values, mutual interests and mutual benefit.She reiterated the Pakistani government’s commitment, as articulated by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, to ensure that the parliamentary recommendations are implemented in letter and spirit.Ambassador Munter thanked Foreign Minister Hina and expressed his government’s appreciation and respect for the parliamentary process.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.According to Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, Zardari expressed the resolve that the people and government of Pakistan would continue to stand with their Afghan brethren in their time of distress and difficulty. He expressed the hope that peace would prevail in times ahead.

The president said Pakistan had always desired a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan as it was in Pakistan’s own national interest and promised continue extending all possible support to every effort aimed at restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Zardari also directed Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq to ensure security and safety of the Pakistan’s women parliamentarian’s delegation, which is currently on a visit to Afghanistan.

The president also expressed condolence over the deaths of members of Afghan security forces and civilians in the deadly attacks.Special Correspondent from Washington adds: The United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan must work together to take robust action to stop terror attacks, Clinton told Hina.She underscored shared responsibility for robust action – by the US and ISAF, by Afghanistan, and by Pakistan – to confront and defeat terrorists and violent extremists, a US official said.State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Clinton had called Khar to talk about the next steps after Pakistan’s parliament approved new guidelines on its thorny relations with the United States.

Clinton, who was visiting Brazil’s capital Brasilia, also discussed the next steps in the US-Pakistani dialogue following the conclusion of a Pakistani parliamentary review, Nuland said.Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Hina also called her Afghan counterpart Dr Zalmai Rassoul and conveyed the solidarity of the government and people of Pakistan with their Afghan brethren on a couple of days back terrorist attacks in which many precious lives were lost.

The Foreign Minister condemned the attacks in the strongest words and emphasized that both Pakistan and Afghanistan faced common challenges of extremism and terrorism necessitating that the two countries work together with a greater resolve to eradicate this menace.Hina assured the Afghan Foreign Minister of Pakistan’s full support for any Afghan initiative that is focused on long-term peace and stability of Afghanistan. – Nation