'Apologetic' US in damage control mode amid WikiLeaks expose about Pak
Washington, Dec 1 (ANI): The United States has expressed its regret over the disclosure of confidential cables by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, which, among other things has revealed the tensions between the US and Pakistan.
"The United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential... And we condemn it," The Washington Post quoted US Ambassador Cameron Munter, as writing in a column published in The News, an English-language Pakistan daily, and its Urdu-language counterpart.
As US officials around the globe prepared last week for a deluge of leaked cables from the WikiLeaks site that could expose them at their least statesmanlike demeanours, they also undertook an acutely delicate diplomatic task, that of cushioning the blow with key friends and rivals.
According to accounts in the New York Times and London's the Guardian, in the cables, US officials have expressed their worries about Pakistan's nuclear materials ending up in the hands of extremists, reported alleged civilian killings by the Pakistan army and described frustration about Pakistani tolerance, and even support of terrorist groups.
Anticipating tension over the revelations, US officials have sought to head off the damage with a "flurry of diplomatic exchanges," a Pakistani diplomat said.
The pre-emptive diplomatic strike began eight days ago, when last Tuesday, the State Department briefed the Pakistani ambassador in Washington. The next day, in person and by phone, senior US officials extended regrets and assurances to the Pakistan President and Foreign Minister, according to a senior Pakistani diplomat. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen also placed a call to Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani.
The Pakistani diplomat said that American officials were "apologetic and promised damage control," while another Pakistani diplomat said that the US counterparts "told us not to read too much into this matter."
Pakistan, for its part, "expressed frustration over how the world's sole superpower can't keep its secrets and confidences, and how that makes it so much more difficult to be America's friend," the senior diplomat said.
Alberto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Islamabad, declined to comment on the exchanges, saying only that US officials "spoke to Pakistan's leadership well in advance of the WikiLeaks." (ANI)