Pakistan has failed to get a clear commitment from the US on securing a civilian nuclear deal which it had been seeking from Washington in its upgraded strategic dialogue that opened here yesterday.
At the end of the first of two days of a high-level strategic dialogue between the two countries, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton merely said that the US would look into whatever issues the Pakistani delegation has raised including the nuclear deal.
“We have a broad agenda, with many complicated issues, like the one you referred to. Discussions are continuing through tomorrow. While I will not go into details of our bilateral conversation, we’ve said that we will listen to and engage with our Pakistani partners on whatever issues the delegation raises. We’re committed to helping Pakistan meet its real energy needs,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Qureshi made a pitch for the civilian nuclear deal by seeking “non-discriminatory access to vital energy resources” as Pakistan struggles to overcome massive power cuts.
Ms. Clinton, who was speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the end of the first day of talks, parried when asked by a journalist whether the US was prepared to discuss a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan.
“I was pleased to inform the Foreign Minister (Qureshi) that our goal is a multi-year security assistance package, including foreign military financing, based upon identified mutual strategic objectives, which would further strengthen our long-term partnership with Pakistan,” she said.
“We of course will work closely with Congress to further develop this commitment,” she said, adding the high-powered delegations from the two countries also discussed the importance of working on a multi-year basis with regard to resource planning.
She also said the two countries will tomorrow sign implementation agreements for three thermal power station rehabilitation projects that will provide more electricity to more people in Pakistan.
Ms. Clinton said she is working together to ensure that Pakistanis have access to affordable and reliable power, which is essential to funding economic development.