U.S. Security Advisor, Pakistani president discuss fight against militancy

08:26, February 12, 2010      

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United States National Security Advisor General James Jones on Thursday called on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad, and the two discussed security situation in the region, drone attacks and fight against militancy, a presidential spokesman said.

The two also discussed rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons, strengthening of the law enforcing agencies, coalition support funds arrears, the new U.S. screening procedures and Pakistan's energy needs, Farhatullah Babar said.

The president said that Pakistan welcomed U.S. declarations of support to Pakistan's security, stability and economic development, and emphasized that the continued support must be based on mutual respect and trust.

Zardari said that Pakistan had suffered a huge loss of over 35 billion U.S. dollars during the last eight years as a result of the fight against militancy in addition to the colossal and unquantifiable cost in terms of social and human losses which had almost crippled the nation's economy.

The president also pointed out the delays in payments of arrears of Coalition Support Fund of over 1.5 billion dollars and called for early repayments of outstanding dues.

Zardari also expressed reservations over the new screening regime for Pakistani nationals and called for its review as it had created resentment in the country and led to doubts and misgivings among the people of Pakistan.

About the drone attacks on Pakistani territory, the president said that it undermined the national consensus on the war against militancy and reiterated Pakistan's call for the transfer of drone technology to it for use by its own security forces against the militants for wider public acceptability.

Referring to the new Afghan strategy, Zardari said that Pakistan has legitimate interests in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The U.S. National Security advisor appreciated Pakistan's role in the war against extremism and militancy, and assured continued strategic, political and economic support to Pakistan to win this war.

Source: Xinhua
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