`Army action alone can`t solve militancy problems`

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 11:54

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani on Tuesday informed the US that military action alone
cannot be the solution to the problems of militancy and
extremism in the region, which have to be addressed through
reconciliation and dialogue.

Gilani conveyed Islamabad`s position on the problems
confronting Pakistan and Afghanistan during a meeting with
visiting US Deputy Secretary of State for Resources and
Management Thomas Nides.

While emphasising that "military action alone cannot
be the solution of the present problems", Gilani said
"reconciliation and dialogue have to be resorted to",
according to an official statement.

The world community and the US "have to focus on
socio-economic development in militancy-affected areas and
provide political space to the democratic government of
Pakistan", he added.

Any future joint strategy for peace and stability in
the region should ensure political and economic stability in
Pakistan and Afghanistan, Gilani pointed out.

The core group of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US
working for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan has a
pivotal role in taking this process forward, he said.

Gilani also emphasized the importance of the strategic
partnership between Pakistan the US and called for the early
resumption of the bilateral Strategic Dialogue by scheduling
the plenary session for its next round.

The Strategic Dialogue was put on hold after the May 2
US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of
Abbottabad and Washington stepped up pressure on Islamabad to
do more against militants and al Qaeda elements based on its
soil.

Gilani contended that Pakistan was strongly committed
to the fight against militancy and terrorism and its
sacrifices in the war attest "to its unwavering resolve to
take this fight to its logical conclusion".

He hoped aid under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act would be
fast-tracked and US would provide greater market access for
Pakistani products by beginning negotiations on a Free Trade
Agreement.

Nides described US-Pakistan relations as "critically
important for peace in the region as well as imperative for US
national security".

Though the US administration is under "tremendous
pressure for budgetary cuts", it is doing its utmost to
maintain the level of its economic assistance for Pakistan and
has committed over two billion dollars in the past 18 months
for projects in Pakistan, he said.

During a separate meeting with Finance Minister Abdul
Hafeez Sheikh, Nides said the US had transferred USD 190
million dollars it pledged last year to help one million
Pakistani families affected by last year’s floods.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 11:54

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