The United States on Wednesday ruled out sanctions against Pakistan saying that the country’s recent counter-terrorism operations were ‘encouraging’.
On being asked if the US would consider placing sanctions on Pakistan for not taking enough action against terrorist networks, the US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said, “I don’t think we’re even at that point…We continue to have conversations with the highest level of the Government of Pakistan. And our basic point in all of these conversations is that Pakistan must target all militant groups, including those that target Pakistan’s neighbors, and eliminate all safe havens.”
The drop scene of US-Pakistan relations
Toner was responding to a question regarding a recent statement by former US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad calling for the US to seriously consider the option of imposing sanctions against Pakistan. “We have been encouraged by some of the steps they’ve taken, some of their recent counter-terrorism operations along the border of Afghanistan. And we’re going to continue to work with them to increase those efforts and apply more pressure on these groups. But the suggestion of any kind of sanctions, we’re not there,” he said.
Toner further added that Pakistan authorities continue to assure their intentions to take stronger steps against terrorists.
Reiterating that the US had long encouraged and pushed Pakistan to go after all terrorist groups, including those responsible for the Mumbai attacks, Toner said, “We want to see accountability and justice in the case of the Mumbai attacks. We’ve long encouraged and pushed for greater counter-terrorism cooperation, and that includes the sharing of intelligence between India and Pakistan in that regard. That continues; those efforts continue.”
Pakistan should cooperate with India in Mumbai attacks investigation: US
Referring to the remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent trip to India and Bangladesh, Toner said, “The US has had very frank conversations with Pakistan’s leadership and military leadership about the need to focus more efforts on those terrorist groups — all the terrorist groups rather, that are operating from within Pakistani soil- or territory rather.”
“We continue to have that discussion with them. We have seen some efforts to make progress in that regard. We’re going to continue to have those conversations with them as we move forward. And it’s in Pakistan’s interest, it’s in Afghanistan’s interest to go after these terrorist groups, to root them out, and to destroy them,” Toner said.
He further added that the ultimate goal is to see peace and stability in the region.
Courtesy : Express Tribune