‘Pakistan PM sees progress in US ties’

Pakistan PM believes "it won`t take long" to achieve a new relationship with the old ally.

Lahore: Pakistan wants to rebuild ties with the
United States despite ongoing retaliation over deadly NATO
airstrikes on its troops along the Afghan border, the
country`s prime minister said on Monday,
stressing that he believes "it won`t take long" to achieve a
new relationship with the old ally.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani`s remarks indicate that
Pakistan is looking for a way to restore some normalcy to ties
with the US following the November 26 airstrikes, but wants to
leverage the situation to try and reset the relationship in
ways more beneficial to Pakistan.

Gilani also said the country remained committed to working
with Afghanistan to bring insurgent leaders - many of whom are
believed to be on its soil and to enjoy close relations with
its security forces - into talks with the government and allow
US to begin withdrawing its troops as it is committed to

That may reassure international leaders meeting in Germany
to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

Pakistan boycotted the talks because of the airstrikes
along the Pakistan-Afghan border that killed 24 Pakistani
"I think we have evolved some mechanisms, and we are ready
to cooperate," he said, referring to meetings with
Afghanistan`s military and intelligence chiefs on a framework
for talks.

"We are committed (to reconciliation), despite that we are
not attending (the Bonn meeting)," he said.

As well as boycotting the Bonn talks, Pakistan retaliated
by blocking its Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies and
giving the US 15 days to vacate Shamsi air base, which has
been used by American drones used to strike militants along
the Afghan border.

US Ambassador Cameron Munter said in a local TV interview
that Washington was doing its best to comply with Pakistan`s
demand to leave the air base.

Gilani said new ties being negotiated with the US would
ensure that the two countries "respected each other`s red
lines" regarding sovereignty and rules of engagement along the

While he gave few details, he made it clear he thought
this was both desirable and possible.

"We hope, we really want to have good relations with the
US based on mutual respect and clearly defined parameters," he
said. "I think that is doable. I think that it won`t take

The two sides have given differing accounts of what led to
the attacks on the army posts.
US officials have said the incident occurred when a joint
US and Afghan patrol requested air support after coming under

The US checked with the Pakistan military to see if there
were friendly troops in the area and were told there were not,
they said.

Pakistan has said the coordinates given by the Americans
were wrong - an allegation denied by US defense officials.


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