Pakistani FM to meet Clinton in London

Pakistan`s Foreign Minister said she would meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Thursday`s London meeting on Somalia to discuss the strained ties.

Updated: Feb 22, 2012, 09:21 AM IST

London: Pakistan`s foreign minister said she would meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Thursday`s London meeting on Somalia to discuss the strained ties between
Washington and Islamabad.

Hina Rabbani Khar said Weenesday she hoped Pakistan and the
United States could sort out their differences but warned that
there would be preconditions to resetting the relationship.

"Yes, I will be looking forward to meet Secretary Clinton
on the sidelines of the Somalia meeting,"Khar said at a press
conference with her British counterpart William Hague on her
first official visit to London.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States were
severely damaged last year by a covert American raid that
killed Osama bin Laden and air strikes that killed 24
Pakistani soldiers, and the alliance remains tense.

"The Pakistani parliament currently is looking at terms of
the engagement with the United States," Khar said.

She said that "red lines" created by Pakistan in its
relationship with the United States and NATO had been "crossed
repeatedly."

"We hope that for the goals that we share, the shared
goals and objectives in the region, that of peace and
stability within the region, within Afghanistan, Pakistan and
the United States will be able to foster our ties.

"However, there are certain preconditions for that.

"And the preconditions are that of firstly what is
considered to be in the mutual interest, and pursuing a track
which is predictable, which is transparent and which is
sustainable. I think the sustainability of this relationship
has been missing," Khar said.

"What we are trying to do in government in Pakistan is to
expand the scope of this relationship by giving it
parliamentary ownership. So we must not be interpreted as an
effort to contract this relationship, but to expand it."

The United States says Pakistan`s tribal belt provides
sanctuary to Taliban fighting in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda groups
plotting attacks on the West, and Pakistani Taliban who
routinely bomb Pakistan and other foreign fighters.

Two US drone strikes struck Islamist militants in
Pakistan`s tribal badlands on Thursday, killing at least 13
fighters in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, officials
said.

PTI