The U.S.-Pakistani relationship remains challenging for both despite the reopening of Pakistani land routes to resupply U.S. troops in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday.
Clinton last week apologised for a November NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and Islamabad responded by reopening the overland supply routes that are crucial to the U.S-led war in Afghanistan.
The supply route deal removed one headache, but ties are likely to remain strained by other differences. These include Pakistan's opposition to U.S. drone strikes aimed at militants on its territory and Washington's allegations that Islamabad condones, or even assists, anti-American fighters.
Speaking after she met Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Clinton said both were encouraged they had "put the recent difficulties behind us" but she acknowledged the difficulties in the relationship in blunt terms.
"I have said many times that this is a challenging but essential relationship. It remains so. And I have no reason to believe it will not continue to raise hard questions for us both," Clinton told a news conference in Tokyo, where both officials attended an Afghan donors conference.
"But it is something that I think is in the interests of the United States as well as in the interests of Pakistan."
Clinton said that the top issue she discussed with Khar was "the necessity of defeating the terror networks that threaten the stability of both Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as interests of the United States" and its allies.
U.S. officials regarded the supply routes as particularly important as the United States and its NATO partners plan to withdraw the bulk of the 128,000 soldiers they have deployed in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Clinton delivered the U.S. apology, long sought by Pakistan, in a telephone conversation with Khar this week. The two pledged to improve relations, which took a nosedive after U.S. forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year.
After their bilateral talks, Clinton and Khar both met Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasul, laughing as they staged a three-way handshake for photographers.
The three issued a statement that emphasised their desire for reconciliation between Taliban and the Afghan government.
Crowded field emerges as Britain’s largest political party begins process to elect David Cameron’s successor
Baghdad hit by series of fatal attacks only 2 days after government promised new security measures
Norwegian Court Approves Extradition of Mullah Krekar, a Terror Suspect
Iraq says air strikes destroy 260 IS vehicles fleeing Fallujah
Nicola Sturgeon met EU officials in Brussels Wednesday
Sameh Shoukry makes first visit as Egyptian FM to Palestinian Authority’s administrative capital in West Bank
Alvin died late Monday, Toffler Associates, the consultancy firm he founded, said in a statement without giving a reason for his death.
Police have shot a Palestinian who apparently attacked a Jewish settler
Angela Merkel says EU project remains on course despite Britain's exit from the bloc
US president's phone call to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan day after terror assault
Candidates to succeed David Cameron must announce by Thursday, Labour leadership challenge expected Wednesday
Fallujah was recaptured by the Iraqi army earlier this week after a more than month-long offensive against Daesh militants
"The notion that Donald Trump could benefit from the same forces that gave the 'Leave' proponents a majority in Britain should sound an alarm for the Democratic Party in the United States," Sanders wrote.
French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday confirmed they were in “full agreement on how to handle the situation” created by Britain’s vote to quit the EU.
Telol al-Baj, near Mosul has been retaken by security forces
The project sets out to provide for some 30M people in the region who go hungry, says African Union official