PARIS: The United States wants “long-term” security ties with Pakistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, moving to soothe tensions raised by the killing of Osama bin Laden near Islamabad.
“It is in our national security interests to have a comprehensive long-term security partnership... with Pakistan,” Clinton told reporters in Paris on the sidelines of a development meeting of the OECD economic organisation.
The US military said Wednesday it has begun pulling some troops out of Pakistan at Islamabad's request, after the discovery of al Qaeda chief bin Laden raised questions over how he went undetected in Pakistan.
Clinton moved to soothe the tensions.
“We do have a set of expectations that we are looking for the Pakistani government to meet but I want to underscore it is not as though they have been on the sidelines,” she added.
“They have been actively engaged in their own bitter fight with these terrorists, extremists who target indiscriminately people from all walks of life, all ages, and we are going to look to put our partnership on as strong a foundation going forward as possible,” she said.
The “international community” had been able to kill more terrorists on Pakistani soil than anywhere else in the world, Clinton said.
“There have been times when we've had disagreements. There have been times when we wanted to push harder, for various reasons they (the Pakistanis) have not,” Clinton said.
“Those differences are real and will continue. We are ready and willing to support the people and government of Pakistan as they defend their own democracy.”