No cut in $700 mln civilian aid to Pakistan: US
Last updated: 14 December, 2011
Washington, Dec 14 (PTI) 13:44 IST
Struggling to restore flagging ties with Pakistan in the aftermath of the deadly NATO strike, the Obama administration has said it has not cut any civilian aid to the country, noting the move in this regard was part of a defence bill in the Congress.
"Well, first of all, just to clarify what has and hasn't happened here in our understanding. We have not cut USD 700 million in aid to Pakistan," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.
The clarification came after a Congressional panel agreed to freeze USD 700 million in aid to Islamabad, linking it to Islamabad's efforts to control the spread of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), as part of a defence authorisation bill.
"What we have is something on the defence authorisation 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," Nuland said yesterday in response to a question.
The negotiating panel of the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously agreed to freeze the USD 700 million aid to Pakistan pending Pentagon's delivery of a strategy for improving the effectiveness of such assistance and assurances that Pakistan is countering IED networks in their country that are targeting NATO coalition forces.
"If this legislation becomes law, we'll work with the government of Pakistan on how we can fulfill the requirements. But this requires us to maintain a strategic perspective and to be clear with our Congress about the strategy," she said.