US speaking in twin voices on Times Square incident?

The US seems to be speaking in twin voices on the attempted bombing in New York`s Times Square.

Last Updated: May 14, 2010, 23:26 PM IST

Islamabad/Washington: The US seems to be speaking in twin voices on the attempted bombing in New York`s Times Square, warning Pakistan of consequences if the attack was traced back to that country but also saying the incident would not affect ties between the two countries.
On the one hand, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated she wants Pakistan to do more to check extremists with a veiled warning of the consequences if the Times Square incident was traced back to that country. On the other, Richard Holbrooke, the US` Af-Pak special representative, said individual incidents like this would not impact on ties and that Washington "respects" Islamabad`s efforts in the war against terror.

"We think that there`s more that has to be done," Clinton said Thursday at an interaction at the US Institute of Peace, a Washington-based think tank, when asked to clarify her remarks about her earlier warning of "severe consequences" if the Times Square incident was traced to Pakistan.

"And we do fear the consequences of a successful attack that can be traced back to Pakistan, because we value a more comprehensive relationship. So we do expect more," Clinton added, repeating her warning given an interview with CBS Sunday, though in an indirect manner.

In a bid to soothe ruffled feathers in Pakistan, State Department officials have been playing down her remarks to the news channel, suggesting that it had not been reported in the context and that CBS had edited the interview.

On Friday, the Foreign Office in Islamabad said the US and Pakistan had agreed that individual incidents like the one at Times Square would not affect their ties and both countries would continue to work together for the elimination of terror.

The affirmation came during a telephone call made by Holbrooke to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

During the course of the conversation, views were exchanged on the Times Square incident and it was agreed that this would not affect ties, that both countries would continue to work together for the elimination of terror and would also ensure that information is exchanged in order to control such incidents, Online news agency reported, quoting a foreign office spokesman.

"Pakistan has played a prominent role in war against terror and we view the role of Pakistan with great respect," Holbrooke said.

Holbrooke also briefed Qureshi on the recent visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the US.

The briefing was given on Clinton`s instructions, Online said.

According to sources, Holbrooke said consultation process between the US and Pakistan on the regional situation, in particular Afghanistan, would continue.

IANS