Washington, 21 January 2012. The United States “remains committed to a strong, mutually respectful” relationship with Pakistan and Washington’s civilian assistance for the South Asian country has not been affected in the aftermath of the November 26 strikes on Pakistani border posts, the State Department said on Friday.
“We consider bilateral US civilian assistance to be an important component of that relationship and believe it can help Pakistan become a more prosperous, stable, and democratic state, which serves the national interests of both the United States and Pakistan,” the Office of Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in response to a question taken at the daily briefing.
“Civilian assistance to Pakistan continues and has not been interrupted since the tragic November 26 incident,” the spokesperson noted.
The November 26 attacks on Pakistani check posts claimed lives of two dozen Pakistani soldiers, angering the Pakistani nation and the government.
After the incident, Islamabad closed Nato supply routes and initiated a full review of ties with the United States, which is nearing its completion.
The State Department also noted that since the passage of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation in October 2009, the US government has disbursed $2.2 billion in civilian assistance, including approximately $550 million in emergency humanitarian assistance.
“In FY 2011 specifically, we disbursed approximately $855 million (not including any emergency humanitarian assistance).
Our non-humanitarian civilian assistance funds are spent in five priority sectors: energy, economic growth, stabilization of the border regions, education, and health.
Notably, in 2011 the people of the United States supported the construction of 210 kilometres of road in Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, funded the world’s largest Fulbright exchange program, and sponsored initiatives promoting private sector growth and civil society development in Pakistan.”
Earlier, spokesperson Nuland shared the view that Pakistan and the United States should pursue broad-based bilateral relations.
It is “completely in sync with our view of the US-Pakistani relationship, that it should be broad and deep, that we have work to do together across the range of issues, whether we’re talking about increasingly open society, economic things, development things, and the full range of security issues.
So we would certainly share the view that we have a lot to do together across the range of concerns,” she remarked at the daily briefing. (APP)