US Welcomes Gilani Comment Seeking Good Ties

 Washington, Dec 6 (IANS): The US has welcomed Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's comment that Islamabad seeks to have good ties with Washington and wants to enhance its strategic partnership with the country.

State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters that they welcome positive statements on the Washington-Islamabad ties.

Toner added the US considers its relationship with Pakistan "absolutely critical and essential".

"And the sign of strength in any relationship is how we work through very serious disagreements and incidents such as this."

His remarks after Gilani told a news agency that Pakistan hoped to have good relations with the US based on mutual respect.

The US-Pakistan ties had deteriorated following the May 2 US commando operation to kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the Nov 26 NATO airstrike that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in Mohmand Agency further strained ties.

Gilani had said that the new ties being negotiated with the US would ensure that the two countries respected each other's red lines regarding sovereignty.

"We want to work with the United States. We really want to enhance our strategic partnership," he was quoted as saying.

The matter has been referred to the parliamentary committee on national security, Gilani said while talking about the Nov 26 NATO airstrikes.

Islamabad only barred NATO supplies through the country and also boycotted an international conference held in Bonn on Afghanistan's future to protest the attack.


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Title: US Welcomes Gilani Comment Seeking Good Ties

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