US rules out changes in Kerry Lugar Bill, offers explanatory memo in lieu within 24 hrs

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Islamabad, Oct.14 (ANI): The United States has made it clear that it would not remove any clauses in the controversial Kerry Lugar bill, rather an explanatory memo addressing Pakistan's reservations would be stapled in with the bill.

Interacting with mediapersons after a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister, who had rushed back to Washington to convey Islamabad's objections, Chairman of the Senate Foreign relations Committee John Kerry said a separate document would be attached with the bill to clarify the elements of the 7.5 billion dollar bill.

Kerry, the main sponsor of the bill; said the document would be prepared within the next 24 hours.

Sources said President Obama would sign the legislation only after the explanatory note is attached to it.

Kerry said it was important that Islamabad's concerns are addressed, and underlined that the 'true intent' of the bill is to help bolster socio-economic development of the Pakistani people.

"He (Qureshi) expressed to me very clearly and very forcefully the ways in which the (Kerry-Lugar) Act has been misinterpreted or interpreted as the case may be by some in Pakistan and how important it is to our relationship and our ability to proceed forward in the direction that we all want to go, to make certain that we address those concerns," The Nation quoted Kerry, as saying.

He highlighted that the bill has nothing in it, which challenges Pakistan's sovereignty, and stressed that it has nothing to do with drone attacks, or private security companies.

"The bill signifies U.S. long-term commitment to the Pakistani people and seeks no micromanagement of Pakistanis affairs," Kerry added.

Qureshi told reporters that the meeting was very successful, as Washington had taken note of Pakistan's apprehensions.

"We discussed this very frankly. I think the message is loud and clear and has been understood. The two sides will work collectively to clarify and correct interpretations," he said. (ANI)

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