Washington: US president Barack Obama has signed into law a massive $662-billion defence spending bill that also seeks to suspend a big chunk of $1.1 billion military aid to Pakistan, despite his "serious reservations" about provisions regulating detention and prosecution of suspected terrorists.
"I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists ," Obama said in a statement after signing the bill in Hawaii, where the First Family is currently on the year-end vacation.
The $662-billion defence authorization bill for the year 2012, among other things, seeks to suspend 60% of $1.1 billion military aid to Pakistan - under the category Pakistan Counter-insurgency Fund - till secretaries of state and defence report to the Congress that Islamabad is making progress in the war on terror, particularly progress in strategies to counter manufacturing IEDs.
IEDs, which are mostly manufactured in Pakistan in its illicit factories, are one of the largest factors responsible for the death of American troops in Afghanistan. However , Obama in in his signing statement made no reference to this provision of the bill, which had drawn widespread condemnation in Pakistan and put another strain in US-Pakistan ties.
The Obama administration has maintained that the bill under no circumstances results in suspension of US military aid to Pakistan; as being interpreted by the Pakistani media.
Romney leading GOP president`s race
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who is leading among all Republican presidential aspirants ahead of the key Iowa Caucus next week, has stepped up his attack on president Barack Obama, saying he would be little more than "a footnote" in the US history because of his "poor" decision-making.
The latest opinion poll by local DeS Moines Register said that Romney was leading among all the Republican presidential hopefuls.