Obama reiterates support for democracy in Pakistan

US President Barack Obama and Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari agreed in a phone call Tuesday that more needs to be done to combat terror groups in Pakistan, the White House said.

“Both President Obama and President Zardari acknowledged that more work needed to be done to address the direct threat to our countries posed by terrorist groups in Pakistan,” the statement said.
Obama, who has already announced he will travel to Pakistan in 2011 and will host Zardari at the White House, “emphasized the United States? commitment and support for democracy and transparency in Pakistan,” the statement added.
President Obama “also acknowledged Pakistan’s economic difficulties, and encouraged President Zardari to work to pass key economic reforms, such as tax reform and containing energy subsidies,” the White House said.
The US president “concluded the call by conveying his intention to visit Pakistan in 2011 and personally welcomed President Zardari to visit the United States in the coming year.”
The leaders’ talks came after three days of strategic dialogue between the two nations. The United States last week offered Pakistan a two-billion-dollar arms package but warned it will not tolerate human rights abuses.
On Friday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US administration would ask Congress to approve two billion dollars in military aid from 2012 to 2016, replacing an earlier five-year package that expired.
The five-year assistance plan satisfies a key request of Pakistan’s influential military, which assists the US military in Afghanistan and was initially uneasy about a US shift to civilian assistance.
ISLAMABAD: US President Obama reiterated his strong support for democracy in Pakistan and expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s accomplishments in numerous fields during a phonecall to President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday. Obama also invited President Zardari to visit the US. Both the presidents welcomed the substantial progress made at the recently concluded third round of the Pak-US Strategic Dialogue and underscored the importance of forging a comprehensive partnership between the US and Pakistan. President Zardari, thanking President Obama for the invitation, said he was also looking forward to the visit of President Obama in the early part of 2011 to Pakistan. The two presidents exchanged views on regional matters and agreed on the need to enhance consultations and cooperation at all levels to promote peace, development and stability in the region as well as to achieve success in the fight against extremism and terrorism. Zardari thanked Obama for the strong expression of support for Pakistan, the democratic forces and progress and prosperity of the Pakistani people. Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke on Tuesday telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari and discussed matters relating to the Pak-US Strategic Dialogue.
Source: Daily Times



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