Washington: A low ebb in the US relationship with Pakistan after the unilateral American raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad was worth paying the price for getting rid of the world`s most wanted terrorist, a top aide of President Barack Obama has said.
"The raid in May 2011 against the Abbottabad compound of bin Laden was one that the Pakistani government reacted sharply to as a matter of sovereignty. I think the decision that we made to take this unilaterally was the right decision," Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor to Obama, said.
"But nonetheless, when we were making the decision, we actually sat and understood that there would be a price to be paid, and we thought the price was obviously well worth it in terms of having a period of time where we were going to have a difficult time with Pakistan," Donilon said.
The top Obama advisor was responding to a question after his remarks at the Foreign Policy Strategic Forum on "US National Security Priorities in a Transforming World."
Over the last few years, the United States, Donilon said,
had ups and downs, and have had disagreements.
"They have been around a number of issues, including sovereignty issues, for example, on the part of the Pakistani government," he said.
"We have had other instances, including this terrible cross-border incident a year ago in November where a number of Pakistani soldiers were killed. And that caused, obviously, a political response in Pakistan," Donilon said.
However, today that crisis is no longer between Pakistan and the US, he noted.
"I think we don`t have a crisis between the United States and Pakistan ... Some individual crisis that we have to deal with. It is allowing us to have a broader, more strategic discussion about the relationship between Pakistan and the United States," he said.
"I think that`s an important moment for us now to sit down and ask ourselves this question: At the end of the day, is there really a strategic divergence between the interests of Pakistan and the United States? What has been the source of the points of friction?
"How can Pakistan support, for example, reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan and do so in a sincere and modified way? How can Pakistan do more do deal with the safe haven issue, which we have across the border? These discussions are ongoing now," he said.
Donilon said: "We`re at a period here where we don`t have kind of a front-and-centre crisis...."
"We have been engaged in a major military operation in Afghanistan for a long period of time now. We have had, obviously, some disagreements, but we also had, as I said, tremendous cooperation from the Pakistani government in a number of areas as well. And that`s been important to our effort there," he said.