'Army action alone can't solve militancy problems'



`Army action alone can`t solve militancy problems` Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday informed the US that military action alone cannot be the solution to the problems of militancy and extremism in the region, which have to be addressed through reconciliation and dialogue.

Gilani conveyed Islamabad's position on the problems confronting Pakistan and Afghanistan during a meeting with visiting US Deputy Secretary of State for Resources and Management Thomas Nides.

While emphasising that "military action alone cannot be the solution of the present problems", Gilani said "reconciliation and dialogue have to be resorted to", according to an official statement.

The world community and the US "have to focus on socio-economic development in militancy-affected areas and provide political space to the democratic government of Pakistan", he added.

Any future joint strategy for peace and stability in the region should ensure political and economic stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Gilani pointed out.

The core group of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US working for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan has a pivotal role in taking this process forward, he said.

Gilani also emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership between Pakistan the US and called for the early resumption of the bilateral Strategic Dialogue by scheduling the plenary session for its next round.

The Strategic Dialogue was put on hold after the May 2 US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad and Washington stepped up pressure on Islamabad to do more against militants and al Qaeda elements based on its soil.

Gilani contended that Pakistan was strongly committed to the fight against militancy and terrorism and its sacrifices in the war attest "to its unwavering resolve to take this fight to its logical conclusion".

He hoped aid under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act would be fast-tracked and US would provide greater market access for Pakistani products by beginning negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement.

Nides described US-Pakistan relations as "critically important for peace in the region as well as imperative for US national security".

Though the US administration is under "tremendous pressure for budgetary cuts", it is doing its utmost to maintain the level of its economic assistance for Pakistan and has committed over two billion dollars in the past 18 months for projects in Pakistan, he said.

During a separate meeting with Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Nides said the US had transferred USD 190 million dollars it pledged last year to help one million Pakistani families affected by last year’s floods.

PTI