Pakistan PM in US, promises to fight terrorism

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Washington, Jul 29: Visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani assured the United States that Islamabad is committed to the fight against 'extremists and terrorists, who represent a tiny minority' in his country.

''This is our own war. This is a war which is against Pakistan, and we'll fight for our own cause. I lost my own leader - Benazir Bhutto - because of the militants,'' he said after a White House luncheon meeting with President George W Bush here on Monday, July 28 which took place amidst rising tensions on the Pakistan-Afghan border. Gilani, who is on his first visit to the United States after assuming office, emphasised that most of the people back home want to cooperate with the United States in combating terrorism.

Both, President Bush and Gilani avoided any direct mention of reports of a possible US connection to a missile strike earlier in the day near the Afghan border that killed at least six people.

Later, in a joint statement, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the long-term strategic partnership between the United States and Pakistan, based on shared values and held immense potential for the enduring peace, security, stability, freedom, and prosperity of Pakistan and of the region.

The two countries also agreed to work together to eliminate the threat of extremism, build strong democratic institutions, modernise education, and increase economic growth and opportunity.

The two leaders also committed to increased bilateral economic cooperation to include expanded trade, an improved investment climate, promoting cooperation in the public and private sectors, and agreed to work together to ensure food and energy security as well as facilitate investment in infrastructure and social sectors in Pakistan.

Apart from that both countries will also undertake a series of steps in the fields of development, counter-terrorism, economic, and regional cooperation alongwith focus on the needs of the Pakistani people-food, health, education, energy, and democratic governance.

They have also agreed to institute a separate track for agricultural cooperation under the strategic dialogue.

The United States will provide 115.5 million dollar in food security assistance to Pakistan, including 42.5 million dollar over the next nine months, assist with disease control activities and highlighted its 30 million dollar Pakistan Energy Development program focused on improving power availability, affordability, a nd efficiency.

Both countries will hold the next round of the US-Pakistan Energy Dialogue this fall to help Pakistan meet its vast and growing energy needs.

The two leaders have also agreed to hold the next round of the US-Pakistan Education Dialogue later this year.

Both the nations will continue and enhance robust collaboration in science and technology under the successful bilateral Science and Technology Framework Agreement and expand bilateral trade.

Apart from that the two leaders have agreed to strengthen the long-term security relationship with a view to enhancing Pakistan"s defense capabilities, especially in the field of counter-terrorism, through training and equipment.


UNI

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