US to provide $2bn military aid to Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The US has announced a $2bn package of military and security aid to Pakistan on the final day of the latest Washington-Islamabad strategic talks.

Pakistan and USA have jointly declared the third round of strategic talks as quite successful, resolving strong coordination and cooperation in such vital aspects as war against terrorism, defense and other related factors.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the five-year deal, which is subject to Congressional approval.

In a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Pakistan is facing a number challenges but America will help the country in these difficult times.

She said that America was closely working with Pakistan Army in rehabilitation of the flood affectees, and assured that America would go to any lengths to promote its friendship and mutual ties with Pakistan.

She promised to table a bill regarding military aid for Pakistan worth U$. 2 billion, from Congress, reminding that America had already signed an energy accord with Pakistan in July regarding various water and power projects. “more active cooperation and further projects are also on the anvil , in accordance with Pakistan-American Strategic dialogue”, she assured.

Hillary said that with the cooperation of international community and Pakistan government, steps are being taken to help the flood-hit people. She said that Pakistan is the key ally in the war against terrorism.

On the occasion, Qureshi said that Pakistan wants long-term relations with the US. He said that President Obama wants peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute. He said that US will provide 2 billion dollars security from 2012 to 2016. He said that Pakistan and US should work together to restore peace in Afghanistan. He said that 13 sectors were under discussion in the Pak-US Strategic Dialogue

He said that this was the first time ever that fruits of cooperation between two countries were trickling down to masses, and while welcoming American assistance, made it clear that there was/would be no compromise on sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan.

He reminded that 3 consecutive dialogues this year proved that both countries were nurturing a broad based cooperation for the sake of mutual relations, peace and harmony. He termed the historical floods as a historical calamity that had befallen Pakistan, devastating its agriculture and economy beyond repairs.

He said that despite the fact that all-out efforts were being taken to alleviate the aftermath of tragedy, and full efforts were being undertaken for their rehabilitation. He said that full cooperation and assistance of friends and allies, especially America were required at the moment.

He also conveyed the good news of evolvement of democracy in the Country, and said that for the first time in history of Pakistan, Pakistan had parlayed with America with confidence and masses were the direct beneficiaries of the dialogue.

He informed that 13 working groups were active in the Pak-American strategic dialogue, over which working paper was completed, while joint action was being taken against terrorism. He strongly berated terrorists for having no religion, nationality or compassion for anyone, and informed that more than 7000 soldiers had already lost their lives in operations against terrorists.

He also reiterated Pakistan’s strong resolve and commitment for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, while he also strongly conveyed the importance of Kashmir issue, as the only source of a longer lasting pace and harmony in the region. He expressed his deep concerns and reservations over appalling indifference and silence of UNO over the Kashmir issue, where thousands of innocent Kashmiris were targeted

He announced that the next round of Pak-American strategic talks would be held in Islamabad, for which the visit of American secretary of State, Hilary Clinton would be eagerly awaited.

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