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U.S. statements hurt bilateral cooperation: Pak FM
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20:30, August 15, 2007

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Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid M. Kasuri said Wednesday that recent statements by certain U.S. officials were counter-productive to the close cooperation between Pakistan and the United States.

Kasuri made the remarks during his talks with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard A. Boucher, according to a Pakistani foreign ministry statement.

Kasuri said that that Pakistan was making valuable contribution and immense sacrifices in fighting extremism and terrorism.

In this regard, he stressed that certain recent U.S. statements were counter-productive to the close cooperation between the two countries.

Kasuri also expressed concern regarding the recent U.S. legislation entitled "Implementation of 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act 2007", which lays down conditionalities relating to security assistance to Pakistan.

He said that such legislation reminded of the Pressler Amendment, which had impacted negatively on the bilateral relations, and was contrary to the spirit of Pakistan-U.S. strategic relationship.

Kasuri underlined that a long-term strategic relationship between Pakistan and the United States was in the interest of both countries and for durable peace and security in the region.

He emphasized that such a relationship should be based on mutual trust and confidence.

Boucher appreciated the contribution and sacrifices made by Pakistan in the measures in fighting extremism and terrorism.

He said that the United States was committed to a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan and there existed a solid foundation for such a relationship.

He noted that the two countries were engaged in cooperation across a broad range of areas, including economy, science and technology, and the social sector.

With regard to the recent U.S. statements, Boucher underlined that U.S. policy was reflected in various statements by U.S. President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emphasizing the importance of Pakistan-U.S. partnership and the need for two countries to work together.

Kasuri and Boucher welcomed the outcome of the recent Pak- Afghan Joint Peace Jirga and expressed the hope that the follow-up mechanism established by the jirga would help move the process forward.

They also discussed the next round of strategic dialogue between the two countries to be held in September 2007.

Pakistan's energy needs and the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement were also discussed during the meeting.

Boucher is on his fourth visit to Pakistan this year. This is part of the regular consultations that both sides hold periodically.

Source: Xinhua

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