President Zardari stresses prevailing public sentiment on issues of national sovereignty


Islamabad: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today held a one on one and delegation level talks with President Asif Ali Zardari in the Presidency.

Hillary Clinton was accompanied with US Ambassador Cameron Munter, Michael Mullen Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior officials of the State Department and the US embassy in Islamabad.

The Pakistan side included Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rahman Malik, COAS General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani, Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and senior officials.

Briefing newsmen the Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that a candid, constructive and positive exchange of views took place on a host of issues in the meetings that lasted for over two hours and covered the full spectrum of Pakistan-US relations and issues of regional stability and security including countering terrorism and peace in Afghanistan.

The President made clear the will of the people and prevailing public sentiment on issues of national sovereignty, security and Pakistan’s national interests in line with the unanimous Resolution recently adopted in the joint sitting of the Parliament, he said.

Both sides reaffirmed the imperatives of the Pakistan-US relations and the need for forging durable partnership on the basis of mutual respect, mutual interest and mutual benefit.

Secretary Clinton stated that a secure, stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan was in the US national interest and a critical factor in regional stability and peace.

The two sides agreed that in pursuing counter terrorism, the two countries will work together in any future actions against high value targets in Pakistan.

The two sides acknowledged that militancy threatened both countries and it was in both countries interest to fight it.

They also agreed on putting relations back on track and to cooperate and work together in not only countering terrorism but also in promoting cooperative ties as well as for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan.

The two sides agreed that it was in interest of both countries that relations based on respect for sovereignty and mutual trust and mutual interest should move on and carried forward in a mutually beneficial manner.

Farhatullah Babar said that there was also an agreement to recommence the preparatory work for the strategic partnership dialogue process.

The issue of drone attacks also came under discussion with President Zardari emphatically underlying the need for revisiting the issue, he said.

Hillary Clinton said that the United States recognized the difficult political and military challenges faced by Pakistan and that she had come to reiterate the value of mutual relations. She said that President Obama had repeatedly demonstrated commitment to long term partnership and that there was no room for misunderstanding and misperception.

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