US seeks to insulate fund cut request from ties with Pakistan
Washington: The US has sought to insulate its request to the Congress for a cut in economic and security aid to Pakistan from its relationship with the country, asserting that it has no intention to lower ties with Islamabad.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki rubbished any such impression and noted that America recognises the important relationship it has with Pakistan.
According to a latest Congressional report, the Obama Administration has requested to the US Congress for a steep decline in its economic and security aid to Pakistan for the year 2014.
The request, if accepted, will see this aid coming down by more than one-third against that given in 2012.
When asked whether it should be seen as an indication of possible lowering of US relationship with Pakistan, Psaki said, "Absolutely not. The Secretary (of State) is looking forward to visiting Pakistan. He would like to be able to spend some time on the ground. He recognises the important relationship we have with Pakistan."
"As you know, he has spoken with the Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) several times since he was elected. That further confirms the importance of the relationship," Psaki said, adding that she has not yet seen the Congressional report.
Kerry is soon scheduled to visit Pakistan, the dates of which are yet to be announced.
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