Washington: The United States has justified its decision to give USD 1.6 billion in economic and security assistance to Pakistan, arguing that the Obama administration is encouraged that the bilateral relationship has improved.
"This is part of a long process of restarting security assistance cooperation.Implementation of this assistance was slowed during 2011-2012 when we had some bilateral challenges," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, told reporters at her daily news conference.
"I would note during that time period civilian assistance did continue moving forward.?So basically, there`s 1.6 billion in funding that`s security and civilian assistance. It`s funds from previous multi-year funding, so it`s money that had been designated for Pakistan but that had been slowed because of the bilateral challenges," Harf said.
So over the course of the summer, she said, the Obama Administration notified Congress that it would be restarting the security assistance part.
"Again, the civilian assistance part had been moving forward. I don`t have an exact breakdown of what the 1.6 billion is between security and military. I think it`s close to being 50/50," she said.
"So it`s actually a number of notifications. It`s a number of different accounts. It`s not a lump sum.But I would say that we are encouraged that our bilateral relationship has improved," she said.
"We are going to move forward with this 1.6 billion. That`s separate from the 2014 Fiscal Year money that the Administration has asked for," she added.
"This is money that was from previous fiscal years, multi-year funding that had not been used yet and was designated for Pakistan, the security portion of which had been slowed to very, very limited security assistance," the State Department official said.
The security assistance will work on a couple of issues, continue to build the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism capabilities of Pakistan`s security forces, she said.
"This is especially important in the western border regions when we`re talking about fighting al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups. So in general, that`s what the security assistance goes to," she said.