US rules out apology to Pak over NATO bombing

The Obama administration has said that it respects Pakistan`s sovereignty but ruled out any apology to Islamabad

Last Updated: Dec 03, 2011, 10:47 AM IST

Washington: The Obama administration has said
that it respects Pakistan`s sovereignty but ruled out any
apology to Islamabad at this point of time as the probe into
the last week`s NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani
soldiers is yet to complete.

"We need to find what happened. We need to get the truth. We have endeavored to do so through this investigation,"
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters when
asked why the US is not tendering an apology to Pakistan over
the NATO bombing last week.

Toner also reiterated US` commitment to have a strong
relationship with Pakistan.

US views this as a tragedy for the Pakistani people, he
said, adding the US has expressed

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among the first to
reach out to her Pakistani counterpart on the wee hours of the
day of incident, he pointed out.

"It speaks to how seriously we take this incident that we
immediately launched, via CENTCOM, an investigation that`s
looking into all the causes that surround this event.

It is not only important that we find out what happened
and why it happened, but we need to really get the details
because we need to make sure that we prevent this from ever
happening again," he said.

Even as Pakistan has made clear that it would not attend
the Bonn conference on Afghanistan in protest against the air
strikes, Toner hoped Islamabad would have its presence at the
meeting which is being attended by some 85 countries and 15
international organisations.

"We think it would be regrettable if Pakistan were not to
attend this conference. We think it`s important for the
region, it`s important for the neighborhood. It`s important
that we all work to put Afghanistan on a square and solid
footing," he said, adding US Ambassador to Pakistan is engaged
in a series of conversations with the Pakistani leaders in
this regard.

US wants them to be there, he said adding Pakistan`s
participation in the Bonn conference is valuable.

"They`re absolutely critical to Afghanistan`s long-term
stability. But we are also going to find a way to keep them
involved in the process moving forward," he noted.

"We have continued to talk to our Pakistani counterparts,
and our message has been very clear. First of all, we respect
Pakistan`s sovereignty. Secondly, we are committed to this
relationship and making it work.

As we`ve said before, we face many shared challenges from
extremists, and we need to tackle them together. This is a
relationship that`s in both of our national interests, and
well as in the interests of Afghanistan, obviously," Toner
said.

"Then finally we have launched an investigation, an
ongoing investigation, albeit at its early stages, that will
hopefully find the answers to what happened," the US official
said.

PTI

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