WASHINGTON: Supportive of the Afghan government, security forces and the ongoing peace process, the United States wants to enlist Pakistan as a partner in the war-torn country, the White House.
“As we look towards the end of our war in Afghanistan in 2014, we’ve made clear that one of the pillars of our strategy is regional stability,” White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said.
He told reporters during a conference call they wanted to make sure Pakistan was part of the picture and part of the solution in terms of regional peace and stability, particularly given how many groups had operated across that border.
“So we want to ensure that we’re enlisting Pakistan as a partner. We also want to help ensure that Pakistan and Afghanistan are finding ways to bridge their mistrust and to build deeper cooperation,” the official added.
A strong and positive relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan served the interests of both countries and the United States as well, he said ahead of the 68th General Assembly session of the United Nations in New York next week.
“I think that will be the tone of the discussions, as to how we can find ways for our countries to cooperate and how we can find ways, even as we have differences on some issues between the US and Pakistan, to make sure the trajectory of the relationship is a positive one,” Rhodes remarked.
He said that the new Pakistani government, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, provided that opportunity. “I think that will be represented in meetings that Secretary (of State, John) Kerry has up there in New York and also the future discussions and meetings that the president will be able to have with his Pakistani counterpart.”
Rhodes explained no formal bilateral meeting is scheduled between Obama and Sharif at the United Nations, but they might be able to see each other. “We do expect that we’d like to have a formal meeting with the prime minister of Pakistan in the near future, so it’s a matter of making sure that we can find an appropriate time for both leaders to come together.”