Close ties will help India and Pakistan, says top US diplomat

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Washington, May 23 (ANI): A top US diplomat has said that Washington is committed to a wide-ranging partnership with Pakistan and believes close ties with both Islamabad and New Delhi will have a positive impact on the South Asian neighbours' bilateral relations.

"I think it's pretty clear from the level of engagement that we have with the government of Pakistan that we view this as a crucial relationship," said James B Steinberg, deputy secretary of state.

He told the Council on Foreign Relations that Washington had a "significant stake in building a Pakistan that is stable, democratic, economically growing and providing for the needs of its people, and dealing with the problems of terrorism and the potential risks of proliferation in that region".

Steinberg said the Obama administration recognised that addressing the terrorism challenge in the South Asian region would take time, the Daily Times reports.

"If we are going to deal with these challenges, it will take time and will take a sustained relationship and that we are better off if we can build trust and confidence in the sustainability of that relationship.

"That means to make sure that we are not just focusing on one issue, however, it is important at the time, but also understanding that there are a range of concerns and issues," the deputy secretary of state remarked.

"That's why, for example, we've tried to move forward on our agenda with the reconstruction opportunity zones in Pakistan to create some economic opportunity," he added. (ANI)

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