Pakistan’s Zardari seeks ‘meaningful’ US relations
* Pakistan likely to reopen Afghan land border to NATO convoys
* Also emphasizes ‘unique relationship’ between Pakistan and China
PAKISTAN: Pakistan’s president on Saturday vowed to engage
“meaningfully” with the Unites States in comments ahead of a
parliamentary session next week tasked with resetting the troubled
relationship between the countries.
“We seek to engage meaningfully with the US on the basis of mutual
interest and mutual respect”, Asif Ali Zardari said in a televised
address to parliament, describing the relationship as “multi-dimensional
The joint session of Pakistan’s parliament is tasked with reviewing
and formally resetting the difficult ties with the US following what
Zardari described as a “challenging year” in 2011.
The process is considered key to getting relations onto a more solid
footing after US air strikes last November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers
and brought the relationship to its lowest point in years.
The review is seen as a precursor to Pakistan reopening its Afghan
land border to NATO convoys, which have been sealed since November 26,
and a resumption of high-level American diplomatic visits.
We are looking forward to your recommendations for re-engaging with
the United States,” Zardari told parliament The November 26 strikes
capped a disastrous year for an alliance already seriously compromised
by the covert raid to kill Osama bin Laden on May 2 and the detention of
a CIA contractor who killed two Pakistanis in January 2011.
Islamabad closed its Afghan border and ordered US personnel to leave
the Shamsi airbase, reportedly a hub for covert American drone strikes
against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
Zardari also emphasised the “unique relationship” between Pakistan
and China which he said was “deeply rooted and mutually beneficial”.
“My eight visits to China are a manifestation of taking this
relationship to new heights,” he said.
China is the main arms supplier to Pakistan, which sees Beijing as an
important counter-balance to its traditional rival India. China
meanwhile needs Islamabad’s help in stemming potential terrorist threats
in its far-western mainly Muslim region of Xinjiang, which borders