Islamabad: With US-Pak relations at an
all time low, the top American diplomat here has called for a
"renewal" of its ties with Islamabad, even as he called India
a "natural friend".
"America and Pakistan need to work together on common
issues, and we have many... it remains vital to us both to see
progress in Pakistan and the region, in the interest of peace,
stability, and prosperity of Pakistan and its neighbours. In
all these areas, I stress one word: renewal," US Ambassador
to Pakistan Cameron Munter said yesterday.
He added, "Why renewal? We`ve had some difficult days
in the recent past... Those problems have been acute in
recent months, symbolised by the case of Raymond Davis.
"...In the ensuing weeks, I believe both sides have
reflected on the importance of our ties, and how we must not
let this very regrettable incident stop us as we work together
for Pakistan`s bright future with America`s determined help.
Instead, let us look for renewal."
The arrest of Davis took bilateral relations to a new
low and led to the suspension of cooperation between the
intelligence agencies of Pakistan and the US.
Davis was pardoned and freed by a Pakistani court
after over USD two million was paid to the families of the men
he killed under a "blood money" deal.
Munter, who was speaking in an interaction at the
Institute of Strategic Studies here said, "...I am going to
emphasise some of the areas where we have a strong
partnership, and our renewed commitment to make it even
He also said Pakistan and India are "natural friends"
of the US, which is attempting to strike a balance between the
South Asian neighbours as it focuses on key regional
objectives like fighting extremism in Afghanistan.
"We are natural friends with both Pakistan and India.
We are doing our best to balance between both. Pakistan and
India are different, but equal. For us a strategic
relationship is an enduring relationship...," he said during
an interaction at the Institute of Strategic Studies here.
The envoy, who spoke on the theme "Pakistan-US: A way
forward", was responding to a question on former US Deputy
Secretary of State Richard Armitage`s remarks that America`s
relationship with India is natural while that with Pakistan is
Munter contended that Armitage`s comments reflected
the change in US-India relations and "an adjustment" that
occurred in the 1990s.
During his address, Munter said the US applauds
discussions between Pakistan and India on matters as diverse
as "possibilities for economic development and commercial
exchange" to security issues.