WASHINGTON: The White House has described this week’s meting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Barack Obama as “productive,” saying Pakistan-US relationship continues on positive trajectory, despite differences on some issues.
“We obviously had an important meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan. It was a productive meeting here at the White House, and our relationship with Pakistan continues on a positive trajectory,” President Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney remarked.
The White House press secretary told reporters that the meeting provided an opportunity for the leaders to discuss “concrete cooperation on issues of mutual concern, such as energy, trade and economic development, regional stability, and countering violent extremism.”
“We want to advance our shared interest in a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan that is contributing to regional and international security and prosperity, and we want to find ways for our countries to cooperate,” he added.
At the same time, the spokesman noted differences on some issues between the two sides, saying the two countries are working together to address Islamabad’s concerns.
“Obviously we don’t agree on everything with Pakistan, but it is important even where we have differences on some issues that we work together to cooperate where we can. And we have a strong ongoing dialogue with Pakistan regarding all aspects of our bilateral relationship and shared interests, including security and counterterrorism cooperation, and we work together to address concerns that Pakistan has in these areas.”
“So all the issues are on the table when these leaders meet. And the meeting was very productive, as was the series of meetings that were held during the course of the Prime Minister’s visit.”
Asked about a news story in The Washington Post on drone operations, the Press Secretary said “What I can’t speak to is specific operational issues. What I can tell you is that on matters of bilateral cooperation, on counterterrorism, we have regular conversations with Pakistan and that is obviously a piece of the kind of conversations that we had during the Prime Minister’s visit.”
Carney also reminded reporters that Pakistan has been a major victim of terror and underlined the importance of US assistance for the key South Asian country.
“It’s critically important that we work closely with our partners, including Pakistan, providing them with the support they need in helping build their capacity to carry out counterterrorism operations in their own countries.
I mean, it is useful to remember that Pakistan has suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists and violent extremists, by some measures perhaps more than any other country. And we have a common enemy and a common cause. And we have long said that there needs to be a coordinated and concerted effort to combat violent extremists of all kinds, whoever they threat.”
“So we had a broader agenda with Prime Minister, and that broader agenda was discussed. But it’s important to remember that our relationship with Pakistan goes beyond these issues, and that there are economic and other matters very much a part of the discussion.” NNI