Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke today said that the Obama Administration would soon announce a range of actions for Pakistan in the field of water, energy and security.
Holbrooke, who had a preview meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi ahead of Wednesday’s US-Pak Strategic Dialogue, said the Congress would be involved in the process.
The meeting was held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department; which among others was attended by Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.
Identifying this as an important meeting between the US and Pakistan, Mr. Holbrooke said the United States would be announcing a range of actions, some big some small that move the process forward on issues from energy to water to education, to security issues.
“We consider this to be a very important trip. I do want to be clear that no single trip ends an issue. This is a process,” Mr. Holbrooke said.
In his brief remarks, Mr. Qureshi reiterated that it is time that the US met the aspiration of Pakistan.
“I agree with Ambassador Holbrooke that this is a process but this process has to be meaningful and it has to be mutually beneficial. It cannot be one-sided,” Mr. Qureshi told Pakistani media.
“The people of Pakistan want the United States to walk the talk,” said Mr. Qureshi, who would lead the Pakistani delegation for the first US-Pak Strategic Dialogue on Wednesday.
The US delegation would be led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani met US Defence Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon.
Kayani arrived in Washington from Florida where he met General David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command.
Earlier, Gates told reporters that the Obama Administration is looking at the long-term in the relationship between the US and Pakistan.
“How we can strengthen our relationship and how we can help Pakistan in dealing with the security challenges that face them but also face us and Nato as well,” he said in response to a question during a joint press availability with the visiting Canadian Defence Minister.
Mr. Gates said the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue will enable the two sides to talk about the full range of their relationship.
Mr. Qureshi is today scheduled to meet key US lawmakers including Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In a statement, the US Central Command said Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Kayani discussed ways to advance cooperation and collaboration in countering extremist violence in Afghanistan, as well as US support for Pakistan’s struggle against violent extremists at home.
On Afghanistan, they discussed improvements in coordination between Pakistan’s military and US forces in Eastern Afghanistan.
Petraeus commended Kayani on Pakistan’s hard-fought gains against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in the Swat valley, as well as the Pakistani military’s impressive counter-insurgency campaign; the press statement said.