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Relationship with Pak complicated but important: White House

Last updated on: May 4, 2011 10:33 IST

Relationship with Pak complicated but important: White House

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Terming United States' relationship with Pakistan "complicated but important", the White House has said it was "working very hard" on its ties with Islamabad which got a setback after a secretive American commando operation to kill Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

"It's vital because, as we have said, that lopping the head off the snake is important, but the body, while battered and bruised because of the actions that have been taken over the years, is still there and we need to bury that body. We need to keep the fight up against al Qaeda. And Pakistan is very important partner in that effort," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

"It's a complicated but important relationship," he said.

On Tuesday, Pakistan called the US commando operation in Abbottabad that killed bin Laden an "unauthorised, unilateral action" without its knowledge.

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Image: US President Obama with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari

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'Obama called Zardari after the Osama operation'

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Identifying Pakistan as a key partner in the fight against the Al Qaeda and terrorism, Carney said they have been extremely helpful and the US looks forward to cooperating into the future.

"We are working very hard on that relationship and it is an important and complicated relationship that has been tested in many ways over the years and even this year," he said.

"But we are in communication directly with the Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and other senior members of the government and we are committed to continuing the cooperation that we've had because it is so important both to our fight against the Al Qaeda, but also Pakistan's. And I think we remain confident that that cooperation will continue," he added.

"We have been in contact at many levels with the Pakistan government. The US President called Zardari the night of the operation, before he spoke to the American people," he said.


Image: Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office before making a statement to the media about the mission against bin Laden
Photographs: Courtesy White House
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'Pak has been on frontlines in fight against the Al Qaeda'

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So while we recognise that there are complicated differences between our two countries and how we approach and view things at times, there has also been a great deal of important cooperation. And that should not be lost. The American people should know that as they view this and try to view the complete picture of that relationship within the context of the successful mission on Sunday," he said.

Pakistan provided useful intelligence and cooperation over the years, and provided assistance that helped the US build the mountain of information that it needed to build in order to find bin Laden and execute this mission.

"I would just say that it's an important partnership, and Pakistan has been on the frontlines, in many ways, of the fight against the Al Qaeda and against terrorists. Pakistanis have suffered in large numbers at the hands of terrorists, and the government has provided useful and important assistance and cooperation to us in the years of this struggle against terrorism," Carney said.


Image: A screen grab from FBI's Most Wanted website taken May 2, 2011 shows the status of Osama bin Laden as deceased
Photographs: FBI handout/Reuters
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'Be careful before tarring everyone in Pakistan'

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When asked about the statement of Senator Lindsey Graham on Pakistan that "You cannot trust them and you cannot abandon them", Carney said it is not a question of trust.

"I think it's a question of the interests that we share and the cooperation that we've forged. It's a complicated relationship. There's no question. And we do have our differences," he said.

"I think it's important to note that there are many people in Pakistan and there are many people in the Pakistan government, so it is I think -- you have to be careful about tarring everyone either in the country or the government,

because they have provided extremely useful assistance over the years. And we look forward to cooperating with Pakistan going into the future," Carney said.


Image: A man reads a local newspaper reporting the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters
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