Davis` release an imp step in maintaining US-Pak ties: Kerry

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 23:58

Washington: The release of US diplomat
Raymond Davis, who was arrested in Pakistan on murder charges,
is an important step in maintaining America`s relationship
with Pakistan, a top US Senator said Wednesday.

"This was a very important and necessary step for both
of our countries to be able to maintain our relationship and
remain focused on progress on bedrock national interests, and
I`m deeply grateful for the Pakistani government`s decision,"
Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, said.

Now, both the countries can focus on the war against
terrorism, Kerry said.

Kerry, who visited Pakistan last month, said the
United States deeply regrets the loss of life that led to this
difficulty in US-Pak relationship and the demonstrations on
Pakistan`s streets.

"But neither country could afford for this tragedy to
derail our vital relationship. We look forward to working with
Pakistan to strengthen our relationship and confront our
common challenges," Kerry said.

Davis was set free after family members of the
Pakistanis killed by Davis told a Pakistani court that they
were dropping charges in exchange for financial compensation,
often referred to as "blood money" in Pakistan.

His release ended one of the most serious diplomatic
stand-offs between Islamabad and Washington in nine years of
partnering in the fight against terrorism.

"It is likely that the deal to release Davis in
exchange for compensation to the victims` families was reached
behind closed doors by Pakistan`s powerful intelligence
agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
and the CIA," said Lisa Curtis, a noted American scholar on
South Asian affairs.

However, she warned that this might help to cool
tempers between the ISI and CIA in the immediate term, so long
as Pakistan resists taking serious action against terrorist
groups like the LeT, tensions in the relationship will
persist.

Welcoming the release of Davis, Mike Rogers, Chairman
of the House Intelligence Committee, said, as a US diplomat,
he is protected by the Vienna Convention and should never have
been arrested or detained.

"If Pakistan wants to be taken seriously as a state
based on the rule of law, it must respect its international
obligations. Pakistan and the US cooperate on many levels
because it is in our mutual interest.

"Irresponsible behaviour like this jeopardises
everything our two nations have built together," Rogers added.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 23:58

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