US says M. Eastern uprisings have not affected South Asia focus

A wave of unprecedented uprisings sweeping across the Middle Eastern countries has not affected Washington’s focus on stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the broader South Asian region, an Obama Administration official said.

“It has not affected what we continue to do in South Asia,” Assistant Secretary of State Philip J Crowley said at a Foreign Press Center briefing. The United States, he said, is a “global country.”

“We’re a country with both significant interests in the Atlantic, in Europe and the Middle East, and also in the Pacific and in Asia. So we have the ability to focus on more than one part of the world at the same time, and we continue our efforts both with respect to Afghanistan, but also with Pakistan and other countries in the region to try to stabilize that situation there,” Crowley added.

The official stressed that Washington does recognize, at the same time, “that there is truly history being made day by day, country by country in the Middle East.”

“It is a remarkable set of circumstances to watch. And we have clearly identified with the people of the countries in the region as they stand up and demand more of their governments. We are guided by principles.”

Explaining his point, Crowley noted that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said it, “in terms of deploring the violence that we have seen, and at the same time encouraging or identifying with the universal aspirations and universal rights of people of the world, including the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, and to have their views respected by governments and clear in terms of calling for governments to respond to their people and to undertake serious political, economic, and social reform.

“That is our message to Egypt, that is our message to Libya, and that is our consistent message throughout these remarkable few weeks,” he said.