SLAMABAD - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani Thursday night and agreed to reduce tension caused by threats by several top US military leaders of unilateral action in Pakistan, officials said.
Pakistan`s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilan greets US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) at the prime minister`s residence in Islamabad October 20, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Clinton, leading a high-level delegation, arrived in Islamabad Thursday evening on a two-day visit to push Pakistan for taking action against the armed groups blamed for cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.
Secretary Clinton started Pakistan visit after holding talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, where she vowed to press hard Pakistan to take action against the armed militants who enter Afghanistan for attacks on US-led foreign and Afghan forces.
She will also meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Pakistani political leaders during her visit, officials said.
New US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, Central Intelligence Agency Director David Patraeus and Under- Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman were also present.
Prime Minister Gilani was assisted by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, the army chief general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Finance Minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
Officials said both sides discussed the revival of the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan which has been facing a deadlock after the last month killing of Afghan peace envoy Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Sources said Prime Minister Gilani raised objections at the allegations by US military leaders and their threats about unilateral military action in Pakistan. The prime minister called for halt to public accusations and said the USmust use the bilateral forum for any complaint.
Both agreed to avoid public criticism and each other and to reduce tension heightened after the last month attacks on the US embassy in Kabul and truck bomb strike on a US base in Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan. Top US officials had alleged that Pakistani spy agency had helped the Haqqani network in both attacks, the charges denied by Pakistan.
Clinton in Kabul urged the Afghan and Pakistani leaders to resume dialogue given the fact that both countries are victims of extremism. She also that she will talk with the Pakistanis on how they will target and increase pressure on the Haqqani network and their safe havens. She said that they have ideas to share with Pakistan and they will listen to the Pakistanis` ideas carefully, but their message is clear and that is fighting, talking and building.
Clinton said Pakistanis could either be helping or hindering, but their efforts will continue for laying the foundation of an Afghanistan free from interference, violence and conflicts.
She said that she will clearly speak with the government and people of Pakistan about it and there should be no safe haven for terrorists anywhere. She said her message is for Pakistan to be part of the solution in ridding their own people from the terrorists who kill them.