US says it has deep security partnership with Pakistan
State Department spokesperson says Washington and Pakistan collaborate on ‘broad range of issues’: Regrets Pakistan skipped US Summit for Democracy
March 31, 2023 10:58 PM
The United States has a deep security partnership with Pakistan including counterterrorism efforts and Pakistan’s decision not to participate in the second Summit for Democracy, hosted by President Jeo Biden, does not change US administration’s willingness to continue to work with Islamabad on a “broad range of issues”, said a State Department spokesperson, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday.
Addressing a news briefing in Washington on Thursday, State Department Spokesperson Vedant Patel said the US was “certainly sorry that Pakistan chose not to participate” in the three-day event that ended Thursday after discussing topics like strengthening democracy and defending against authoritarianism; addressing and fighting corruption; and promoting respect for human rights.
The spokesperson was responding to a question from a Pakistani TV channel reporter, who sought his reaction to Pakistan’s move to opt out of the summit which was joined in-person and virtually by some 70 leaders from around the world.
China and Turkiye were excluded, but Taiwan was invited.
“It (Pakistan) is a sovereign state and it is one that can make decisions for itself, Patel said and added “This certainly does not change our willingness to continue to work with Pakistan.”
The US and Pakistan, he said, work together on a broad range of issues, and the Biden administration continues to engage with them on issues surrounding democracy, human rights, including freedom of religion and beliefs, pointing out that there there’s an important security partnership as well.
The same reporter asked him about the rising attacks by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists in the country, and Patel said he had seen those same reports and offered his condolences to those who were impacted. “I don’t have any specifics to offer, but of course there is a deep security partnership with Pakistan, including counterterrorism efforts”, he added.
When an Indian journalist drew attention to India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s statement about not engaging with Pakistan on the plea that talks and terrorism do not go together, the spokesperson said he would let New Delhi add any additional commentary to his comments. “But broadly,” Patel said, “what I would say is that the US values its important relationship with both our Indian partners and Pakistan as well, and these relationships stand on their own and are not a zero-sum proposition.”