US ready to discuss N-deal with Pak: Clinton

US ready to discuss N-deal with Pak: Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

However, her remarks were tempered with the rider that the civil nuclear deal with India did not happen "easily or quickly" and was the result of "many, many" years of strategic dialogue.

The first ministerial-level US-Pakistan strategic dialogue, scheduled to start on Wednesday in Washington, is aimed at sorting out different issues expected to be raised by Pakistan, including a possible demand for a civil nuclear deal, Clinton said in an interview with a Pakistani news channel.

Ahead of the crucial dialogue, Pakistan submitted a 56-page document to Obama administration seeking among other things a civil nuclear deal and drone technology.

Notwithstanding India's reservations, Clinton made it clear that the issue of energy would be one of the subjects of discussion but refused to pre-judge the outcome of the talks.

"I'm sure that it is going to be raised and we're going to consider it but I can't pre-judge or pre-empt what the outcome of our discussions will be, except to say that this strategic dialogue is at the highest level we've ever had between our two countries," she said on Pakistan's expectations of being given a civil nuclear deal.

In response to another query about the need for a civil nuclear deal to help Pakistan cope with an energy crisis and to address the Pakistan Army's concerns related to India, she said: "I can't speak for anyone else's impressions but that (the civil nuclear deal with India) was the result of many, many years of strategic dialogue. It did not happen easily or quickly."

Clinton added: "I think on the energy issue specifically there are more immediate steps that can be taken that have to help with (Pakistan's power) grid, other sources of energy, to upgrade power plants and the like. We are certainly looking at those and we want to help Pakistan with its immediate and long-term energy needs."

The US has a "broad agenda" for the strategic dialogue, which includes the issue of civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, she said.

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