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No "impact" on military ties with Pakistan: US

February 10, 2011 03:06 IST

The US said that there has been no "significant impact" on its military to military relationship with Pakistan after Islamabad refused to release an American diplomat detained on possible murder charges.

"There has been no significant impact (because of this)," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters. At the same time, he noted that that is not aware if any meeting at the smaller level has been cancelled because of this.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal in a news dispatch from Islamabad said that the Obama Administration is threatening to cancel the tri-lateral meeting between the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan scheduled for later this month, in protest of the arrest of its diplomat Raymond Allen Davis.

"Pakistani officials said the US had conveyed its decision to cancel the meeting if the detained American diplomat, named by Pakistan as Raymond Davis, wasn't released," The Journal reported. The meeting is scheduled to take place from February 23 to 25. But a senior Administration official told PTI, "The Trilateral Ministerial is currently scheduled for February 23-24. Preparations for the Trilateral continue."

Yesterday, three powerful US lawmakers had warned that the massive American aid to Pakistan may soon be in jeopardy if Islamabad does not release Davis. The tough message in this regard was delivered by Congressmen Howard McKeon, House Armed Services Committee chairman; John Kline, Education and Labor Committee chairman, and Silvestre Reyes, the senior Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, during their just concluded trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Talking to reporters, McKeon said the delegation indicated it could very well be" that the US might consider withholding funding. "It is entirely possible that a member of Congress would come down and offer an amendment to cut funding for Pakistan, based on their detaining Mr Davis, and my guess is there would be a lot support for such an amendment, frankly because of the outrage of detaining an American with diplomatic immunity," Klein said.

The State Department spokesman P J Crowley tweeted that the US continues to contact with Pakistan to express the importance of resolving the case of a US diplomat in accordance with international law.

The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had raised the issue of "illegal detention" of Davis by Pakistan during a telephonic conversation with the Pak President, Asif Ali Zardari, last week and also when she met the Pak Army Chief, Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, in Munich over the weekend. "We continue to express to them the importance of resolving this. We continue to express to them the fact that our US diplomat has diplomatic immunity and should be released," Crowley said adding that by not releasing its diplomat Pakistan is violating the Vienna Convention.

The White House has so far twice summoned Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani to for formal complaints and demands that Pakistan recognise Davis's diplomatic immunity and release him immediately. The message was repeated in a meeting in Islamabad Monday between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and US Ambassador Cameron Munter.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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