Washington: The Obama Administration has
assured Pakistan that there would be no disruption in civilian
aid to that country, even as it had decided to hold back
military aid worth USD 800 million.
Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, during a
telephonic conversation with Pakistan Finance Minister Abdul
Hafeez Shaikh today, conveyed US` message in this regard,
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
"They discussed the importance of continuing
cooperation on the US-Pakistan civilian assistance programme,"
Nides reiterated to Shaikh that the US remains
committed to working in partnership with Pakistan to fuel
economic growth and to improve its energy, education, and
health sectors, he said.
"It is important to note that while there is this
slowdown on the security and military side, our civilian
assistance continues," Toner said in response to a question.
"I think the message is that while the decision to
slow down some of the security and military assistance
reflects the reality that some of those programs are tied to
the level of our cooperation.
But we continue to work productively on the civilian
side; that assistance continues to flow. It speaks to the full
spectrum of our relationship with Pakistan that we`re able to
continue to work with them productively, and that`s, again, in
our national interest as well as Pakistan`s," Toner said.
"I think since the passage of Kerry-Lugar-Berman, we
disbursed about 2 billion in civilian assistance, which
includes over 550 million in emergency humanitarian assistance
that was in response to the floods," he said.
"So we do have the slowdown on the security side, but
our civilian assistance remains undeterred," he added.
The crux of the conversation between the two officials
was about the continuing flow of civilian assistance and how
best to ensure that that meets Pakistan`s needs.
The telephonic conversation, he said was an important
opportunity to touch base with Pakistan to ensure that this
civilian assistance continues.