Haven`t suspended high-level talks with Pak: US

Islamabad has refused to release a US diplomat detained on possible murder charges.

Last Updated: Feb 09, 2011, 11:29 AM IST

Washington: The US has denied reports that
it has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan after Islamabad refused to release an American diplomat detained on possible murder charges.

"We continue contact with Pakistan to express the
importance of resolving the case of a US diplomat in
accordance with international law," State Department spokesman
P J Crowley posted on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

Crowley`s tweet came hours after The Washington Post
reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cancelled a
meeting last weekend with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah
Mehmood Qureshi at an international security conference in
Munich, in protest of the arrest of its diplomat Raymond Allen
Davis.

The US insists that Davis has diplomatic immunity,
which is not being honoured by Pakistan.

"Not true," a senior administration official said
when asked about The Post`s report and similar news items
published today.

"We continue to meet with Pakistani officials and
press for our diplomat`s release," the official said.

He also denied reports that the Trilateral meeting
between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States scheduled
for later this month has been postponed because of the strain
in US-Pak relationship on the Davis issue.

The Trilateral Ministerial is currently scheduled
for February 23-24. Preparations for it continue, the
official told reporters.

"We maintain high-level contacts with Pakistani
government to make clear that our US diplomat should be
released. He has diplomatic immunity.

"Pakistan has international obligations under the
Vienna convention and we continue to stress that to the Pakistani government at all levels," Crowley told Voice of America (VOA).
"We continue to talk to the Pakistan government to
stress the importance of resolving this issue. Meanwhile, we
obviously have a strategic partnership with Pakistan, and we
continue to prepare for the upcoming trilateral meeting,"
Crowley said.

The New York Times reported that United States had
warned Pakistan that if Davis was not released, the scheduled
March-end visit of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to
Washington could be jeopardised and badly needed financial
assistance could be cut.

The White House refused to entertain questions related
to Davis and the daily State Department briefing was cancelled
yesterday.
It has so far twice summoned Pakistani Ambassador
Husain Haqqani for formal complaints and demands that
Islamabad recognise Davis`s diplomatic immunity and release
him immediately.

The message was repeated in a meeting in Islamabad
Monday Zardari and US Ambassador Cameron Munter.

PTI