Updated Sep 08, 2018 07:59am

Quality security interaction with Pakistan to continue: US

Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: A senior US official has said that the United States and Pakistan will continue to promote quality interactions in defence and security despite differences in other areas.

Randall G. Schriver, the assistant defence secretary for the Department of Defence’s (DoD) Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, also said that he had high hopes for the continuation of a respectful bilateral relationship beneficial to both countries.

Speaking at a Defence Day reception at the Pakistan Embassy on Thursday night, Mr Schriver said the recent visit of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford to Islamabad had paved the way for resetting this relationship.

The military linkages between the two countries, he said, had always remained a strong foundation for the two-way relations and he did not see that changing.

Mr Schriver, however, acknowledged that there had been “some bumps” on this long relationship that started the day Pakistan was founded.

But Pakistan “was a friend, a supporter, and a key partner” in the fight against terrorism and would continue to be a key partner.

“We know about the sacrifices that Pakistan has made in this long war on terror and we don’t take those sacrifices lightly. We value this relationship, we value this partnership.”But he reiterated Gen Dunford’s Wednesday statement that now was the time for both nations to deliver on their joint commitments.

“The military-to-military relationship is one that has remained in a place where some of the other relationships haven’t,” the top US defence official said.

Mr Schriver recalled that Pakistan has been a US partner in several key areas, “including our efforts to degrade Al Qaeda, the efforts to defeat [Daesh], the efforts made to the United Nations in peacekeeping”.

He said that the cooperation in these areas had yielded results and brought successes.

Mr Schriver noted that this week’s meetings between Secretary Pompeo, Gen Dunford and Pakistan’s top brass were held in a favourable environment.

Washington hoped to improve this relationship and use the good feelings generated in Islamabad to restore full cooperation in all areas. “We are very heartened ... and look forward to building on the momentum that that visit created.”

Mr Schriver said that personal relations between top military officials of the countries were also encouraging.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018

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