Gilani asks US to respect Pak`s `red lines`

Pakistan "wanted to work with the US to defeat the common enemy" of terrorism, Gilani said.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2011, 00:04 AM IST

Islamabad: The US must respect Pakistan`s
"red lines" and give a guarantee that there will be no
transgression of the country`s borders in order to regain
Islamabad`s cooperation in the war on terrorism, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday.

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with US
Ambassador Cameron Munter, who "emphasised that both Pakistan
and the US should fully cooperate to fight the menace of
terrorism," said a statement from the Premier`s office.

Pakistan "wanted to work with the US to defeat the
common enemy" of terrorism, Gilani said.

"The Prime Minister, however, made it clear to the
Ambassador that Pakistan`s red lines should be respected,
adding that the US must ensure respect for the national
sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan with the
guarantee of non-occurrence of the transgression of Pakistan`s
frontiers in future," the statement said.

Anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries has
virtually stopped after a cross-border NATO air strike on
two military posts killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November
26.

Pakistan closed all NATO supply routes and forced US
personnel to vacate Shamsi airbase, which was used by
CIA-operated drones.

Gilani had referred to Pakistan`s "red lines" for
cooperating with the US while making a policy statement in
parliament yesterday.

He had said the conditions included "sovereign
equality and mutual respect, no unilateral actions inside
Pakistan or against Pakistan and no transgression of our
territorial frontiers."

The Premier told the US envoy that "it was his primary
responsibility to safeguard Pakistan`s dignity and honour."
In a reference to the NATO air strike, he said: "Respect
for sovereignty and non-repeat of unilateral action were the
very minimum that Pakistan expected."

Gilani said the government should be credited for "the
ownership the nation had assumed regarding the war on terror"
and Parliament too was fully behind the government in this
regard.

"No war can be fought without the support of the people,"
he said.

He reiterated Islamabad`s position that "an independent,
prosperous and stable Afghanistan was in Pakistan`s
interests."

Gilani said: "We will support process of reconciliation
in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and does
not destabilise Pakistan."

US Ambassador Munter said the "common enemy must be
defeated" and for this the US and Pakistan need to "focus and
cooperate with each other with commitment and
single-mindedness."

The convergence of interests between the two sides
against the enemy provided a "realistic basis and common
ground to continue to collaborate and save the world from the
curse of extremism and terrorism," Munter said.

Pakistan-US ties have been buffeted by a series of
crises since the beginning of the year.

The tensions peaked after the US raid that killed
al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May and
humiliated the powerful Pakistani military.

The ties plunged to a fresh low after the NATO attack and
Prime Minister Gilani has called for framing "new terms of
engagement" with the US as part of a foreign policy
revamp.

PTI