Munter vows ceaseless engagement with Pakistan

The nominee to be the next US ambassador to Pakistan on Thursday pledged “ceaseless engagement” to combat the country’s anti-Americanism, saying Washington needed to do a better job explaining its motives.

Cameron Munter, a veteran diplomat in hot-spots such as Iraq and Serbia, said the United States should pursue a long-term commitment to help Pakistan fight extremism and recover from devastating floods.

But in his confirmation hearing before the Senate, Munter said that US officials needed to be better listeners and “build a lasting relationship with Pakistani counterparts based on honesty and mutual respect.”

“Let’s be honest about this. We need to overcome historical skepticism among Pakistanis about American motives in South Asia, and this will require ceaseless engagement, energy and outreach,” Munter said.

Referring to historic mistrust between the countries, Munter said: “We are perhaps not doing as well as we might in understanding the impact of that past and that idea in the mind of Pakistanis.”

Munter’s nomination needs the approval of the full Senate, which is likely.