Islamabad, Washington to resume strategic dialogue Focus on energy and market access

Posted on June 14, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |


ISLAMABAD, June 13: Continuing to work on their rocky bilateral relationship, Pakistan and the United States agreed on Monday to prune the strategic dialogue to make it more “focussed and result-oriented”.US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides, who heads the State Department’s policy planning and civilian assistance for Pakistan and Afghanistan, discussed with his Pakistani interlocutors the resumption of bilateral strategic dialogue, currently stalled because of tense ties and future of Kerry-Lugar assistance.

And to an extent the two allies succeeded. Dawn has learnt that the expected prioritisation of dialogue components was finally agreed upon. The two sides through diplomatic channels will decide on the priority areas of cooperation and then prepare a schedule of meetings between working groups.

In March last year, when the strategic dialogue was upgraded, Pakistan and the US had identified 13 segments and formed the working groups for preparing action plans and discussing their implementation.

Three sessions of the dialogue were held last year, but after that the relationship hit one rocky patch after another — first with the arrest of CIA operative Raymond Davis and then the US Abbottabad raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. No significant results could be achieved this year, frustrating both Islamabad and Washington if media reports are to be believed.

The spread-out strategic dialogue will be limited to four priority areas, which probably include energy, law enforcement and counter-terrorism, water and market access. The rest -communications and public diplomacy, defence; education, health, science and technology, security, strategic stability and non-proliferation, women empowerment, economics and finance — will be put on the backburner.

“The idea is to make the dialogue highly focussed on routing the resources to high-profile signature projects,” a source said.

During his meeting with Thomas Nides, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani identified development of the energy sector as the country’s most immediate requirement and urged the US to channel its economic assistance to high visibility power projects.

According to the PM’s office, Mr Gilani also emphasised the need for immediate resumption of the strategic dialogue by scheduling the next round of talks.

After his meeting at the Foreign Office, Mr Nides said: “I believe we are now heading in the right direction.” But he was quick to caution about the challenges ahead by underlining that “still, all of us have a great deal of work ahead to sustain this momentum”.

He asked the people of Pakistan not to expect the US to solve all their problems. “It is for the democratically-elected leaders of Pakistan to deliver results for the people. What the United States can do is what we strive to do every day as long as we are there. We work with you to identify our common goals and then work together to realise them. You can see this approach at work in our civilian assistance programmes.” At the finance ministry, Mr Nides announced the transfer of $190 million pledged last year to the Citizens Damage Compensation Programme aimed at providing cash transfers to more than one million households affected by last year’s floods.

“The United States is giving a significant portion and making good on our promise to help the people of Pakistan. We will work in cooperation with the govern ment to ensure it is spent transparently, honestly and effectively for the people of Pakistan,” he said.

JOINT EFFORTS: During a meeting with Thomas Nides, President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to cooperate with international forces in combating terrorism and militancy.

He said Pakistan and its people had rendered “unparalleled human and economic sacrifices” in the process of combating militancy.

He said it was in the interest of both Pakistan and the US that relations based on respect for sovereignty and mutual trust and interest should move forward in a mutually beneficial manner.

Bilateral ties and coopera tion, progress on various segments of strategic dialogue in multi-faceted fields and issues relating to regional stability, including counteringterrorism and peace in Afghanistan, were discussed at the meeting.

Mr Nides said Pakistan was an important ally in the war on terror and for defeating the violent extremism. He acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by people and law enforcement personnel of Pakistan for world’s peace in the struggle against terrorism.

Mr Nides assured the president that the United States would continue it support and cooperation in combating terrorism and assistance in other fields.




Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2 other followers

  • EnergyPakistan had

    • 767 hits

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: