You can't keep snakes in backyard, Clinton tells Pakistan

You can't keep snakes in backyard, Clinton tells Pakistan

Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Clinton said here that the US has reasserted its commitment to eliminating safe havens of terror.

"You can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect it to only bite neighbours," a grim Clinton said with Khar by her side.

"We are specifically for cooperation from the Pakistani side to squeeze the Haqqani network," Clinton, who arrived in Pakistan Thursday on a two-day visit, said.

She said eliminating the terror group from "one side is not going to work".

Clinton added that the two countries were "working to establish concrete steps".

"Militants should be targeted on both sides of the border," she said bluntly.  Clinton said Pakistan was critical for regional security.

She added that Washington respected the country's sovereignty, an apparent attempt to assuage Pakistanis who have come out strongly against US drone attacks in the tribal regions and are jittery over the massing of heavily-armed US and NATO troops at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Pakistan Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had earlier this week warned the US to think "10 times" before it launches a unilateral ground offensive in the country's tribal regions.
Foreign Minister Khar said Pakistan and the US discussed issues of mutual interest.
She said Pakistan supported an Afghan led reconciliation process.

The peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, deadlocked after the assassination last month of Afghan peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani, came up for discussion. Afghanistan had suspended the peace process with Pakistan and also trilateral efforts involving Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US.

"We take the terror threat seriously. We have acted against the threat. There is no question of any Pakistani institution's (involvement)...let me be completely clear on that," she said.

"Do safe havens exist? Yes, they do exist on both sides. Do we need to cooperate? Yes. We can cooperate more and achieve better results," she added.

Clinton's visit takes place at a time when Pakistan-US ties have deteriorated sharply -- following the attack last month on the US embassy in Kabul and the truck bomb blast at a major American military base in Afghanistan's Maidan Wardak province, blamed on the Taliban-linked Haqqani network.

The US accuses Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI of supporting the Haqqani network in both attacks, a charge denied by Islamabad.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had warned of unilateral action against the Haqqani network and other Pakistan-based armed groups if Pakistan did not take action against them.

The relationship had also seen a decline after the US suspended in August $800 million in military aid and also attached tough conditions to future American assistance.
The new US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus and Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy joined Clinton in Islamabad.

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