WASHINGTON: The State Department on Tuesday clarified that the US had not cut $ 700 million in aid to Pakistan but noted that there was a congressional move seeking such a step.
“Well, first of all, just to clarify what has and hasn't happened here in our understanding. We have not cut $700 million in aid to Pakistan,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
“What we have is something on the defence authorisation bill, which is currently moving in the Congress, which would require the Department of Defence to continue providing a strategy on how we will use certain military assistance and measure its progress, in particular on progress that we are making with Pakistan on the IED issue,” she explained, replying to a question.
A Congressional panel had on Monday reported an agreement on freezing $700 million in aid to Islamabad.
The panel said that Pakistan should stop the movement of fertilizers that militants in Afghanistan use in Improvised Explosive Devices to target American troops.
“If this legislation becomes law, we'll work with the government of Pakistan on how we can fulfil the requirements. But this requires us to maintain a strategic perspective and to be clear with our Congress about the strategy,” she said.
“As you know, this is a subject that the US and Pakistan have been working on for some time together, both through DOD programs and through State Department programs,” Nuland remarked.
The spokesperson would not make any specific comments on the outcome of a conference of Pakistani diplomats, which, reviewed relations with Western countries.
“I don't have a comment specifically on the outcome of the conference. I don't have full information from our embassy after the conference. I think you know our view that while this relationship is sometimes difficult, it's very important for the US and Pakistan to continue to work together, particularly on threats that face both of us,” she said.
“Our dialogue with them continues on how we can do that together,” Nuland added.
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