US says it has significant stake in building stable Pak
Last Updated: Saturday, May 22, 2010, 10:20
Washington: Describing its ties with Islamabad as crucial, the US has said it has a significant stake in building a stable, democratic and economically prosperous Pakistan.

"I think it's pretty clear from the level of engagement that we have with the Government of Pakistan that we view this as a crucial relationship," Deputy Secretary of State, Jim Steinberg, said.

The US has "a significant stake" in building a Pakistan that is stable, democratic, economically growing and providing for the needs of its people and dealing with the problems of terrorism and the potential risks of proliferation in that region, he said.

"There's a huge amount at stake, and it's a complex relationship because it's a complex society and a complex government," Steinberg said in response to a question at the Council in Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think tank, where he spoke on the implications of rising powers for global governance.

He also acknowledged that there is a lot of suspicion between the two countries.

"We've had a less than fully sustained relationship over the past 30 years, and so we have to rebuild that trust, understanding that we're not going to necessarily see eye-to- eye on everything but that the more we can convince each other that in the long term our interests are largely convergent and that we are prepared to engage for the long term, there is greater likelihood that we will be responsive to each other's concerns and interests," he said.

The US, which recently had a strategic dialogue with Pakistan here, has tried to build a very comprehensive relationship with Pakistan, Steinberg said.

If one followed the range of issues that were discussed in the recent Strategic Dialogue and the range of partners that the US is dealing with in Pakistan, it was really a reflection of the fact that while there was a tremendous focus right now on terrorism - because it was an existential threat to us and it was a huge priority for us - it was also a huge priority for Pakistan, since they were also threatened in many ways by the same forces that threaten the US, he said.

"...working with the Congress, we've tried to broaden our assistance programme to make clear that this is to benefit broad sectors of the Pakistani society and not just focused on counter-terrorism efforts," the Deputy Secretary of State said.


First Published: Saturday, May 22, 2010, 10:20

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