Islamabad: Question: On Congress, with regards to Pakistan, there’s a bill to withhold $800 million unless and until Pakistan takes the steps to stop the supply of ammonium nitrate to Afghanistan that is used in IED bombs. Do you think that is a step in the right direction? And will it have any effect on the relationship with Pakistan?
Ms. Nuland: Well, first of all, just to clarify what has and hasn’t happened here, in our understanding, we have not cut 700 million in aid to Pakistan. What we have is something on the defense authorization bill, which is currently moving in the Congress, which would require the Department of Defense to continue providing a strategy on how we will use certain military assistance and measure its progress, in particular on progress that we are making with Pakistan on the IED issue.
So if – obviously, if this legislation becomes law, we’ll work with the Government of Pakistan on how we can fulfil the requirements. But, this requires us to maintain a strategic perspective and to be clear with our Congress about the strategy. And as you know, this is a subject that the U.S. and Pakistan have been working on for some time together, both through DOD programs and through State Department programs.
Question: Okay. Just to follow up, there was a conference of the diplomatic corps in Pakistan chaired by Prime Minister Gilani, and they have come up with a few recommendations after the conference. And they’re making it very clear that nothing short of an apology from the United States and NATO on the airstrike will be acceptable to them if at all this relationship has to come back on track. So do you have a comment on that?
Ms. Nuland: I don’t have a comment specifically on the outcome of the conference. Frankly, I don’t have full information from our Embassy after the conference. I think you know our view, that while this relationship is sometimes difficult, it’s very important for the United States and Pakistan to continue to work together, particularly on the threats that face both of us, and our dialogue with them continues on how we can do that together.
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