US Senators meet Prime Minister

Islamabad: As friends we should accept that we have divergence of views but we should learn to trust each other as our relationship is too vital for both the countries’ stated by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani when a delegation of US Senators led by Robert P. Casey called on him here today.

The Prime Minister called upon the Senators to devise a common strategy that covers relationship of the two countries beyond 2014 and is also instrumental in assisting each other in intelligence sharing and defence co-operation with a view to keep the region stable.

The Prime Minister reiterated that Pakistan wanted a sovereign, independent, stable and prosperous Afghanistan and we support the process of reconciliation in the country which is Afghan-led and Afghan- owned. Pakistan is part of solution and not part of problem, the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister mentioned about his two visits to Afghanistan and the Afghan President’s visit to Pakistan, adding that the two countries shared the commonality of views over the process of reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He urged that the positive messaging from the two countries would help create an enabling environment for the leadership of the both countries to strengthen their bi-lateral relations and also deny the space to the terrorists to capitalize on.

The US Senators expressed their grave concern over the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) which are killing the Pakistani and the US troops alike and there was a dire need to put in place a mechanism to regulate manufacturing, transportation, storage and distribution of ammonium nitrate used by terrorists. It may be mentioned that ammonium nitrate is used by the terrorists to make IEDs. The same chemical is heavily used by the fertilizer factories to produce fertilizer.

The Senators were told that the Government of Pakistan had already placed stringent laws which regulate the manufacturing, transportation, storage and sale of the ammonium nitrates. Pakistan has amended the Explosive Amendment Law to cope with the situation.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan had already blocked about 20 million unauthorized SIMS preventing their misuse by the terrorists.

The Interior Secretary apprised the Senators that in collaboration with the US Embassy, an awareness campaign against IEDs will be launched next month so that people know the dangers involved and also how to protect themselves from the dangerous explosive device.

The Prime Minister said that a Centre of Excellence had been set up at Risalpur that exclusively imparts training to the personnel of the law Enforcement Agencies, enhancing their capacity to deal with the lethal explosive and saving the valuable lives.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan had good neighbourly relations with all neighbouring countries including India and Afghanistan. The Prime Minister said that it was welcome realization on the part of India that the talks between India and Pakistan should not be held hostage to terrorist attack of Mumbai. He mentioned about the recent fruitful visit of the Pakistan Foreign Minister to India and also earlier visits of the Commerce Secretary and Interior Secretary and exchange of at senior level between the two countries.

US Senators appreciated the sacrifices of Pakistan and extended their sympathies with the families whose near and dear ones had lost their lives in fight against terrorists.

Other Senators of the delegation were Senator Michel Bennet, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Senator Richard Blumenthal.

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