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Obama highlights need to ensure Pak not consumed by extremism

Washington: The US and Pakistan are making "diligent progress" on reopening the vital NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama has said, while asking Pakistan to work with the world community to ensure that it is "not consumed by extremism that is in their midst".

Obama, who had a brief meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari on the margins of the NATO summit in Chicago, also acknowledged that tension prevailed between the two nations, whose ties were hit by a series of incidents including a cross-border raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year leading to closure of supply routes to Afghanistan by Islamabad.

"We didn`t anticipate that the supply line issue was going to be resolved by this summit. We knew that before we arrived in Chicago. But we are actually making diligent progress on it," Obama told reporters in Chicago at the conclusion of the two-day NATO Summit last evening.

Obama said his discussion with Zardari was very brief as they were walking into the summit.

"I emphasised to him what we have emphasised publicly as well as privately. We think that Pakistan has to be part of the solution in Afghanistan; that it is in our national interest to see a Pakistan that is democratic, that is prosperous and that is stable; that we share a common enemy in the extremists that are found not only in Afghanistan, but also within Pakistan; and that we need to work through some of the tensions that have inevitably arisen after 10 years of our military presence in that region," he said.

Obama said Zardari shared with him his belief that these issues can be worked through. "… ultimately, it is in our interest to see a successful, stable Pakistan, and it is in Pakistan`s interests to work with us and the world community to ensure that they themselves are not consumed by extremism that is in their midst."

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