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The Express Tribune Home Pakistan Business World Sports Life & Style Multimedia Opinion Magazine Blogs Jobs Classifieds Sindh Punjab Balochistan KP & FATA Alerts IJAZ AHMED APPOINTED AS ASSISTANT COACH FOR THE TOUR 07:32 PST < > US-Pakistan relations: Munter-Kayani meeting served to cool rhetoric

ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador to
Pakistan Cameron Munter met with Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
on the hush last week reportedly to convey an ‘important message’ from
the Obama administration concerning the Haqqani network.

The meeting was believed to have played a key role in cooling the
rhetoric between the two sides following weeks of fiery statements on
one of the most influential Afghan Taliban allied insurgent groups.

US officials confirmed the meeting, saying Ambassador Munter’s
message from Washington was very clear: “The US wants to remain engaged
with Pakistan.”

Munter told General Kayani that Pakistan would have to take certain
actions against the Haqqani network, they added. However, Pakistan
military officials played down the hype surrounding these
messages.“Americans continue to push us to do more,” said a military
official, who asked to remain anonymous, while referring to the meeting
between Munter and Kayani.

He said the Army chief voiced his concerns over the recent
allegations by senior US officials linking the country’s top spy agency
with the Haqqani network.

“We have made our position very clear that Pakistan cannot be held
responsible for the mess in Afghanistan,” the official added. Pakistan
continues to resist mounting US pressure to eliminate the Haqqani
network’s ‘safe havens’ in its tribal belt.

The issue has become a major stumbling block in improving the US-Pak
relationship which has been on a steady decline since the May 2 US raid
that killed Osama bin Laden.  However, it was believed that the two
countries had reached some understanding to avoid public accusations
against each other.

In the backdrop of a series of meetings between Ambassador Munter and
senior Pakistani leaders including President Asif Zardari last week, an
American diplomat told The Express Tribune that ‘the worst is over.’

Pakistani officials acknowledged that tensions had simmered to some
extent but the relationship was not ‘out of the woods as of yet.’

When approached, Director General Inter Services Public Relations
(ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas said he had no knowledge of the meeting
between Ambassador Munter and General Kayani.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2011.

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