Washington, Oct 13 (IANS): Saying that "Pakistan has to be part of the solution, or they will continue to be part of the problem" in Afghanistan, the US is pushing Pakistan on several issues on which it holds Islamabad accountable.
"Everybody knows Pakistan has a big stake in the outcome of what goes on across their border, and they are going to be involved one way or the other," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after a lecture on American Global Leadership at the Centre for American Progress Wednesday.
"Part of what we've done is to continue to push forward on what our expectations are from Pakistan and hold them accountable on a range of issues that we have laid out for them," Clinton said describing it as a "very difficult relationship."
"But I believe strongly that it is not one we can walk away from and expect that anything will turn out better, because I don't believe that will be the case," she said.
"Therefore, we are deeply engaged in finding ways to enhance cooperation with Pakistan and to further the Afghan desire for a legitimate peace and reconciliation process."
State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland later told reporters that Clinton's remarks that reconciliation talks with Haqqani Network cannot be ruled out did not represent any change in policy.
"I think we've been quite consistent. We need and we are continuing the conversation with Pakistan to work together intensively to fight terror and beat back the Haqqani Network in its efforts to propagate terror, whether it's in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the region."
With regard to reconciliation, she said: "This needs to be an Afghan-led process.