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US-Pak: 'Will try to put relations back on track'

May 19, 2011 19:30 IST

United States special envoy Marc Grossman on Thursday met Pakistan's top civil and military leadership as part of efforts to salvage bilateral relations following the covert American operation in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.

Grossman, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, met President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidency Thursday afternoon. Earlier, he met Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

The meeting between Zardari and Grossman was a follow-up of US Senator John Kerry's meeting with the President on May 16, Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said. At that meeting, the two sides had agreed to put "relations back on track".

They also decided that the "relations should go forward on the basis of mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual interest". In a brief statement, the military said Grossman and Kayani discussed the "future of Pakistan-US engagement concerning the reconciliation process in Afghanistan". It did not give details.

Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was sent to Islamabad as a special emissary by the Obama administration against the backdrop of criticism of Pakistan's security and intelligence establishment for their failure to detect bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad, a garrison city that is home to thousands of soldiers.

Following his meetings with civilian and military leaders, Kerry said Pakistan had agreed to take a series of steps to get the bilateral relations back on track. He did not give details of these steps but made it clear that the US expected Pakistan to flush out terrorists and crack down on sanctuaries in the tribal belt used by militants to target North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and foreign forces across the border in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has condemned the May 2 US raid as a violation of its sovereignty. On the other hand, the US has asked Pakistan to probe whether elements in its security establishment had been involved in backing the al-Qaeda leader.

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