Pak-US committed to improve relationships: Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Pakistan was too important for Washington to turn its back on, following ice-breaking talks with Hina Rabbani Khar.

Clinton and Hina Rabbani Khar spoke for an hour and a half on the sidelines of a London conference on Somalia, in a first step towards thawing relations that were frozen in November when US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Clinton said there would still be “ups and downs” in the relationship but that neither side could afford to shun the other.

“Building and sustaining a relationship based on mutual interest and mutual respect takes constant care and work, from both sides,” Clinton told a press conference.

“I’m sure we will continue to have our ups and downs. But this relationship is simply too important to turn our back on — for both nations.

“And we both remain committed to continue working to improve understanding and cooperation.”

Clinton and Khar discussed tackling violent extremism, supporting Afghan-led reconciliation and improving ties between Washington and Islamabad, the secretary of state said.

She spoke of “difficult times which I admit we are in”, adding that there had been “a lot of swirling in the air of who said what when that does not accurately reflect the state of the relationship”.

The meeting was an important chance to “keep the lines of communication open” and “the work hasn’t stopped”, she added.