US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, US State Departement Marc Grossman speaks at the Brussels Forum on how to move forward in Pakistan and Afghanistan on March 26, 2011 in Brussels. – Photo by AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States wants to help Pakistan build a stronger political process to cope with the threat of terrorism, says the US State Department. At a briefing in Washington, the department’s spokesman also said the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, would travel to Brussels and Moscow to consult America’s allies and partners on the issue of Afghanistan.

“Our relationship with Pakistan is geared towards building a stronger political process, building stronger institutions, so that Pakistan is better able to cope with both the threat of terrorism in its midst as well as be a cooperative partner moving forward,” spokesman Mark Toner said. Referring to the arrest and subsequent release of a CIA contractor, Raymond Davis, Mr Toner said: “We’ve had some bumps in the road in that partnership” but both sides now desired to leave all that behind.

Mr Toner said that Ambassador Grossman’s visit to Brussels and Moscow was part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s outreach to Afghanistan’s neighbours, allies, and partners for resolving the Afghan dispute. In Brussels, Mr Grossman would meet Nato and EU partners and would participate on a panel of the Brussels Forum entitled “Bridging the Trust Deficit with Pakistan”.

In Moscow, he is scheduled to meet Deputy Foreign Minister Borodavkin, Director of the Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov, as well as Special Presidential Representative to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov.

The two sides would discuss a range of issues related to Afghanistan, including counter-narcotics cooperation, to ensure mutually reinforcing efforts, spokesman Toner said.

With the start of the transition process in Afghanistan, a close coordination between the US, its allies and partners had become even more important, he said.

President Hamid Karzai formally launched the transition process on March 22, which requires realignment of US civilian and military resources to support the Afghan government. The Americans expect the Afghan government to shoulder security responsibilities and to start providing essential services to its citizens.

This, obviously, “makes it even more essential” to enhance cooperation with US partners in the region, Mr Toner said.

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