‘Eventual solution’ to terrorism lies with Pakistan, says USBy Arun Kumar, IANS
Friday, January 14, 2011
WASHINGTON - The United States will continue to engage with Islamabad as it looks at Pakistan as part of the “eventual solution” to the problem of terrorism originating from there, a senior administration official has said.
From the very beginning of his administration President Barack Obama has “wanted to focus on Pakistan, recognizing the tremendous challenges that Pakistan faces and how those challenges in fact impact and potentially can impact American security,” said National Security Council Spokesman Mike Hammer.
“I think what we’ve seen is a very active engagement with Pakistani leadership,” he told foreign media in New York when asked by a Pakistani reporter about US response to a situation where the extremists are holding sway in Pakistan.
A lot of these efforts to engage with Pakistan were initiated by former US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Hammer said.
“…and in his honor and memory we will continue those efforts to engage with Pakistan because Pakistan is part of what we see as the eventual solution to some of the issues that we face in terms of the terrorists and extremist threat that originates from that area of the world,” he said.
The US was “engaged with Pakistan at multiple levels throughout the year,” Hammer said, noting former National Security Advisor General James Jones, The Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a number of other senior officials had made several visits to Pakistan.
“We know there’s no easy solution, but what I think Pakistan is recognizing is that in the United States, in President Obama, they have a willing partner,” Hammer said.
“And I think as part of that partnership we will continue to deepen cooperation to address some of these again very difficult challenges.”
Meanwhile, officials said in Washington Thursday Obama and Clinton would also have discussions with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari at the White House Friday when he visits Washington to take part in a memorial meeting for Holbrooke.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)