Clinton meets Zardari; discuss Indo-Pak ties

New York: The improving trade ties between Pakistan and India, terrorism and violent anti-US protests were among a host of issues that President Asif Ali Zardari discussed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when they met here on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Zardari brought up the issue of the anti-Islam movie with Clinton and the two leaders “spent quite a bit of time talking about the violence throughout the region,” that has resulted in the aftermath of the movie, a State Department official told reporters after the meeting yesterday.

Clinton reiterated that those who provoke violence cannot be tolerated and it undermines the sovereignty of states. Over 20 people were killed across Pakistan in violent protests against the film deemed offensive to Islam.

The Pakistani side also stressed that there was “zero tolerance” for both violence and extremism. Zardari, who will address the world body today, was accompanied by Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

The two leaders also discussed the “growing trade relationship between Pakistan and India even as noted in the recent visit… (and) discussion of the Commerce Secretaries (of the two countries),” the official added.

Last week, Indian Commerce Secretary SR Rao was in Islamabad for the 7th round of talks on Commercial and Economic Co-Operation with his Pakistani counterpart Munir Qureshi.

The two countries signed three agreements for cooperation in customs matters, redressal of trade grievances and conforming to quality standards to further normalise economic relations between the two countries.

The two leaders also talked about continued counter- terrorism cooperation, including efforts by the US to squeeze the Haqqani Network, which was recently designated as a foreign terrorist organisation.