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US House Speaker Says al-Qaeda Targets Pakistan

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TEHRAN, April 19 (ICANA) – US House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) led a six-member congressional delegation to Pakistan, where members met with key civilian and military leaders, the US embassy said Monday.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 10:49:55 AM
US House Speaker Says al-Qaeda Targets Pakistan

"We recognize that the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people have made great sacrifices in recent years in the struggle against extremism and terrorism. Al Qaeda and its extremist allies have made Pakistan a target, and the Pakistani nation has suffered deeply as a result,” Boehner said in a statement.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Pakistani military and the sacrifices of those troops and the Pakistani people”.

He said a strong US-Pakistan relationship is vital to the interests of both of our countries.

“We had frank and productive discussions with Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders. While the relationship between our two countries has seen its challenges, we discussed the importance of working through these issues and renewing our partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect,” he said.

While meeting with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilnai, Speaker Beohner while commending Pakistan’s role as a frontline state in war against terror acknowledged Pakistan’s tremendous sacrifices. He assured the Prime Minister that the US would retain its long term strategic partnership with Pakistan to defeat this common enemy.

He informed the Prime Minister that while the US Congress was in the process of cutting down government spending to reduce the US budget deficit, it had not applied any cuts in aid to Pakistan in the fiscal year 2011 budget passed this year, neither does it intend to do so in the next fiscal year budget. He underscored that this was a clear recognition by the US Congress of Pakistan’s crucial role in the war against terror as well as being the strategic partner of the US .

The US Congressmen also agreed with the Prime Minister on the imperative of positive messaging from both sides only through which the image of both the countries among their peoples can improve. They also agreed that people to people contacts through exchange of parliamentary delegations and positive media interaction can greatly help build trust and confidence.

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