‘No intention of losing focus on ties with Pakistan’

Washington: The US has “absolutely no intention” of losing focus of its important relationship with Pakistan, the Obama administration has said, noting that it is the sovereign decision of Islamabad to take a call on its security needs.

“These are sovereign decisions that nations make with respect to their defence needs, and it’s up to Pakistan to speak to how they’ll fulfil their defence needs,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby yesterday told reporters when asked about the remarks coming from a Pakistani leadership that they would get the fighter jets from other places, like China, if unable to get them from the US.

“As for the relationship, as I’ve said many, many times, it’s an important one. It’s critical, it’s vital particularly in that part of the world, and it’s a relationship we have absolutely no intention of losing focus on or diminishing in any way,” Kirby said.

“But these are obviously sovereign decisions that Pakistan has to make,” the State Department said.

A day earlier, the US told Pakistan to make pull payments for the F-16 fighter jets costing an estimated USD 700 million after some top Congress Senators put a hold on the subsidy (of USD 435 million as promised earlier).

Kirby refrained from responding to questions on remarks by a top Pakistani minister that the US aid to his country has been “peanuts”.

“I would just simply say that, again, it’s an important relationship. We’re going to continue to support that relationship. We fully stand behind the kinds of support that we have provided Pakistan over the last many years with respect specifically to their counterterrorism capabilities and counterterrorism needs, and we’re going to continue to look for ways to improve that cooperation as best we can,” Kirby said.