Pak, US need to work on mutual interest: Khar

Islamabad: Pakistan and the US need to work together on issues of mutual interest on the basis of a spirit of partnership and respect, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said today. Khar made the remarks during a meeting with US Ambassador Cameron Munter, who called on the Foreign Minister and discussed the current status of bilateral relations and the situation in Afghanistan.

"The Foreign Minister underscored the need to work together on issues of mutual interest based on the spirit of partnership and mutual respect," said a statement issued by the Foreign Office. Khar and the envoy agreed that the Pakistan-US relationship is "strategically important for two countries and therefore agreed to work together to achieve shared goals and objectives".

Khar emphasised that Pakistan`s parliament had "clearly spelt out guidelines for engagement with the US and the government was committed to pursue relations with the US within these guidelines". Pakistan and the US have been struggling to put their ties on an even keel since a cross-border NATO air strike from Afghanistan that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November. Even before that, ties had been hit by the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

Islamabad closed NATO supply routes to Afghanistan after last year`s air strike and demanded that the US stop drone attacks in the country`s tribal belt. After Pakistan failed to announce the reopening of the supply lines at the NATO Summit in Chicago, the US stepped up drone strikes in the lawless North Waziristan region over the past week.