U.S. speaker praises Pakistan's efforts in war on terror
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner who led a six-member congressional delegation said Tuesday that Pakistan had contributed a lot to the war against terrorism, Xinhua reported.
"We recognize that the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people have made great sacrifices in recent years in the struggle against extremism and terrorism. Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies have made Pakistan a target, and the Pakistani nation has suffered deeply as a result," Boehner said in a statement.
"We appreciate the efforts of the Pakistani military and the sacrifices of those troops and the Pakistani people," he said.
Boehner said a strong U.S.-Pakistan relationship is vital to the interests of both countries.
"We had frank and productive discussions with Pakistan's civilian and military leaders. While the relationship between our two countries has seen its challenges, we discussed the importance of working through these issues and renewing our partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect," he said.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday, Boehner commended Pakistan's role as a frontline state in the war against terror and assured the prime minister that U.S. would retain its long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan to defeat this common enemy.
He informed the prime minister that while the U.S. Congress was in the process of cutting down government spending to reduce the budget deficit, it had not applied any cuts in aid to Pakistan in the fiscal year 2011 budget passed this year, neither does it intends to do so in the next fiscal year budget.
Gilani urged the U.S. Congress for using its influence with the administration to agree on a joint strategy under which the drone technology should be transferred to Pakistan.
The U.S., he said, should refrain from drone attacks in Pakistan's northwest tribal regions bordering Afghanistan and instead share credible intelligence to enable Pakistan to take actions against the terrorists itself.
The prime minister impressed upon the need of positive messaging from both sides to help build trust in the interest of a long-term strategic partnership between the two countries.
He said that Pakistan is keenly looking forward to the U.S. Secretary of State's visit to Pakistan in May for the next round of strategic dialogues, which he hoped would pave the way for fast tracking the disbursement of U.S. aid for high visibility projects in power, energy, health, education and infrastructure sectors.