Barack Obama welcomes thawing of US-Pakistan relations

Added by on March 27, 2012

US President Barack Obama calls for balance in Pakistan’s review of its relations with Washington.

In the highest-level contact between the uneasy allies since US commandos killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani military town last May, Barack Obama conceded relations had been strained in recent months.

Speaking on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Seoul on Tuesday, Mr Obama told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani that he hoped a Pakistan parliamentary review of fraught ties with Washington would be balanced and respect US security needs.

Pakistan’s parliament has been drawing up recommendations on how to proceed on ties with Washington, including a halt to US drone strikes in the country that have enraged many Pakistanis.

“There have been times – I think we should be frank – over the last several months where [our] relations have had periods of strains but I welcome the fact that the Parliament of Pakistan is reviewing, after some extensive study, the nature of this relationship,” Mr Obama said.

Mr Gilani said he was pleased to hear Mr Obama talk about sovereignty, and both men spoke of their mutual interest in a stable Pakistan and Afghanistan, putting a measured public face on what has become a severely damaged diplomatic relationship.