WASHINGTON: A US State Department spokesperson has said that Pakistan is an important partner of the United States and both countries benefitted from the bilateral cooperation, but observed that the Trump administration would like Islamabad to ‘do more’ through cooperation.
Spokesperson Heather Nauert made these remarks at a briefing a day after Trump made remarks against Pakistan in a tweet that evoke a strong reaction from the government. The National Security Committee (NSC) that met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair also expressed its deep disappointment over the statement.
The NSC also agreed that in spite of all unwarranted allegations, Pakistan would remain committed to playing a constructive role towards an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process, not just for the sake of its own people but also for the peace and security of the region and international community.
The State Department spokesperson said that both Islamabad and Washington benefitted from the bilateral cooperation. “We’re not the only ones who benefit from it. But they (Pakistan) have a lot to gain through additional cooperation on the issues of terrorism,” she said.
To a question on the reports of withholding of aid from Pakistan, she said it was not a new announcement and came out in August, but for some reasons, people got interested in it again. “But this is not a new announcement,” she added.
Asked to describe the state of the US-Pakistan relationship right now, the spokesperson said: “Pakistan is an important partner. We have a lot of issues in that region. Pakistan knows that, we all know that, and we try to work carefully together on some of those issues.”
When asked to comment on the recent tweet by the US president, the spokesperson maintained that his “concerns” were nothing new and he had expressed that concern months ago.
When a questioner drew the attention of the spokesperson towards the praise and acknowledgement by the US government of Pakistan’s help in rescuing the Canadian-American couple from Taliban captivity and whether it counted, the spokesperson said the US government was pleased with the cooperation by Pakistan.
“But they can do more,” she echoed an oft-repeated US stance.