US-Pak talks touted as 'intensification' of partnership
Washington: The United States is touting high-level and wide-ranging talks here on Wednesday with Pakistan, a frontline ally in the war on extremism, as a "major intensification of our partnership”.
President Barack Obama's administration has promised to engage more deeply with Pakistan, which has long seen Washington as interested only in securing its military co-operation in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda.
The talks chaired by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will cover not just security but also economic development, water and energy, education, communications and public diplomacy, and agriculture, US officials said.
Pakistan has mentioned 10 topics, including health as well as science and technology.
The event "marks a major intensification of our partnership”, said Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. "This is a partnership that goes far beyond security, but security is an important part of it."
The broadening partnership is based "on mutual respect and mutual trust”, Holbrooke told reporters on Friday.
"The United States is supporting Pakistan as it seeks to strengthen democratic institutions, as it seeks to foster more economic development, expand opportunities, deal with its energy and water problems, and defeat the extremist groups who threaten both Pakistan's security and stability in the larger region, and American national security as well," he said.