Washington: The U.S. and the U.K. share “common goals” in Pakistan and want to step up their cooperation with the militancy-infested country, the new British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has said.
Mr. Hague, who discussed with his U.S. counterpart Hillary Clinton the situation in Pakistan, said the new British government had started parleys with the Obama administration on ways to enhance and strengthen their co-operation with Islamabad.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran were the major issues of discussion between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Hague, who met her on Friday while on his first overseas trip as the British Foreign Secretary.
“We discussed the closely-related situation in Pakistan, where we and the United States share common goals and indeed have already started discussing ways to enhance and strengthen our cooperation and the support that we give to Pakistan,” Mr. Hague told reporters in a joint press availability with Ms. Clinton.
The first meeting between the two leaders, after the formation of the new British government on Wednesday, lasted more than an hour. Ms. Clinton had earlier met Mr. Hague last year when the latter was the shadow foreign secretary.
“Obviously, the United Kingdom has its own very strong relationship with Pakistan and traded some ideas on how we could work cooperatively, and also how the United Kingdom could have its own dialogue with Pakistan on issues of mutual concern, including security,” State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, told reporters at his daily press briefing later. Both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Hague conceded that Afghanistan, however, was their top priority where the international community led by the U.S. is engaged in a war against Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
Asserting that the new British government shares the United States' perspective on Afghanistan, Mr. Hague said: “That is why we say we will give the time and support for the strategy in Afghanistan to succeed.”
Of course, the new administration in Britain will take stock of how it can best do that, he said.
“And that includes enhancing and reinforcing the cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United States at the highest level so we have a clear, shared perspective on what we are doing.” — PTI