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Pakistani president calls for building mutual trust with U.S.

(Xinhua)

08:18, April 28, 2012

ISLAMABAD, April 27 (Xinhua) -- The Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Friday told a top visiting U.S. diplomat that building the mutual trust between the two countries is the key to the bilateral re-joining the counter-terrorism cooperation.

"Pakistan and the United States share many important areas where there was convergence of mutual interests. The most notable among those were the goals of stability and peace in Afghanistan and the complete defeat of Al-Qaeda," President Zardari said in the meeting with Ambassador Marc Grossman, U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Grossman was in Islamabad for bilateral talks and to represent the United States in the trilateral forum, which also groups Pakistan and Afghanistan.

President Zardari reiterated Pakistan's opposition to the United States drone strikes in the country's tribal region and said Islamabad has always maintained that drone attacks were highly counterproductive in the war against militants as it inflamed public sentiments due to innocent civilian casualties, said the Presidential Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar.

The president said that both the sides should consider setting up a framework of mechanism to find a mutually acceptable alternative to the U.S. drone strikes, the spokesman said.

He said that Pakistan wanted to re-engage with the United States at all levels in the light of the parliamentary review. He said that Pakistan was committed to providing assistance to the international presence in Afghanistan. However, the international community should share the financial and economic cost of services and goods involved in the process.

The spokesperson emphasized upon the need for evolving a mechanism for counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries during the meeting with the president.

The president also emphasized upon early resolution of the issue of reimbursement of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) arrears. He said that CSF reimbursements were a sticking point in the relationship which needed to be addressed urgently.

Ambassador Grossman thanked the President for meeting and said that the United States respected the Parliamentary process of overview of relationship. He said that the United States wanted to work with Pakistan and expressed the hope that the bilateral relations would be back to normal soon.

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