Will stand by Pak Government: US

The US will stand by the Pakistan government, Vice President Joseph Biden has said.

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2010, 20:17 PM IST

Islamabad: The US will stand by the
democratic government in Pakistan as it tackles the crisis
caused by unprecedented floods across the country, Vice
President Joseph Biden has said.

The assurance was conveyed by Biden during a
telephone conversation with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
yesterday.

The move came against the backdrop of speculation
about the Pakistani military stepping in following the
civilian government`s ineffective handling of the humanitarian
crisis.

Biden reiterated "US support for the democratic
set-up in Pakistan and the commitment of the US government to
stand by Pakistan throughout the relief, rehabilitation and
reconstruction phases to mitigate the effects of devastation
caused by the unprecedented floods", said a statement issued
by Gilani`s office.

A statement issued by the US embassy here too said
Biden reiterated "US government support to Pakistan during the
current flood crisis".

Biden underlined that the US is "standing by Pakistan
during this challenging time".

Gilani said democracy has "firmly taken roots in
Pakistan and all the democratic institutions were fully
functional without interference in each other`s purview".

He thanked the US leadership for its unequivocal and
unambiguous stance on supporting and strengthening democracy
in Pakistan.

The US has emerged as the largest donor of aid for
the millions of flood victims in Pakistan.

It has provided about 260 million dollars in
emergency humanitarian assistance and other civilian and
military in-kind assistance in the form of meals,
pre-fabricated steel bridges and infrastructure support.

The US has also dispatched 25 helicopters and two
C-17s and five C-130 heavy lift aircraft for relief missions.

"While we continue our immediate flood relief, we
are also pursuing a full-fledged diplomatic effort to
encourage additional international resources to help Pakistan
rebuild," Biden said.

The two leaders discussed ongoing coordination as
Pakistan transitions from relief to recovery efforts.

Gilani told Biden that his government has obtained
the consensus of all four provinces and stakeholders to
establish an oversight council to supervise the collection,
division and use of all local and foreign aid.

He said the US should use its influence with the
IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank to ease their
conditions for loans given to Pakistan and to provide the
country additional funds for reconstruction of flooded areas.

Gilani also said the next round of the Pakistan-US
strategic dialogue scheduled for October should focus on
concrete support for Pakistan?s economic recovery and the US
should take the lead role for assuring the country`s economic
and political stability.

PTI