Progress in US-Pak relationship substantial but uneven: Obama

Noting that Pakistan is central to America`s efforts to defeat Al-Qaeda and prevent its return to the region, US President Barack Obama said progress in US-Pak relationship last year was substantial but uneven.

Washington: Noting that Pakistan is
central to America`s efforts to defeat Al-Qaeda and prevent its return to the region, US President Barack Obama said progress in US-Pak relationship last year was substantial but
uneven.

"Progress in our relationship with Pakistan over the
last year has been substantial, but also uneven," Obama said
in the third-quarterly report to the Congress on Afghanistan
and Pakistan sent yesterday.

The 2010 Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review includes
an evaluation of the progress made during the period of this
report, which marked the full deployment of the US troop
"surge" to Afghanistan that he announced in December 2009,
Obama said in a letter to the Congressional leaders.

He said the review also highlights particular areas in
US strategy for Pakistan that require adjustment.

"Specific components of the strategy, taken
individually, indicate we are headed in the right direction,
both in terms of US focus and Pakistani cooperation. However,
better balance and integration of the various components of
our strategy will be required to reach our objectives," Obama
said.

"For instance, the denial of extremist safe havens
will require greater cooperation with Pakistan along the
border with Afghanistan. Furthermore, the denial of extremist
safe havens cannot be achieved through military means alone, but must continue to be advanced by effective development strategies," the President said.

"In 2011, we must strengthen our dialogue with both
Pakistan and Afghanistan on regional stability. Toward that
end, Secretary Clinton plans to host foreign ministers from
both countries in Washington for another session of the United
States-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral dialogue.

"On bilateral issues, we must support the Government
of Pakistan`s efforts to strengthen its economy, improve governance and security, and respond to the development needs of the Pakistani people," Obama said.
The Administration will continue US-Pak Strategic Dialogue and sustain senior level engagement, he said.

"Pakistan is central to our efforts to defeat al-Qaeda
and prevent its return to the region. We seek to secure these
interests through continued, robust counter-terrorism and
counter-insurgency cooperation and a long-term partnership
anchored by our improved understanding of Pakistan`s strategic priorities, increased civilian and military assistance, and expanded public diplomacy," he said.
"Progress in our relationship with Pakistan over the
last year has been substantial, but also uneven. We worked
jointly in the last year to disrupt the threat posed by
al-Qaeda, and Pakistan has made progress against extremist
safe havens, taking action in six of seven agencies of the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)," he said.

PTI

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