Washington: In a bid
to mollify a key ally, the United States has clarified that it has
not cut aid to Pakistan and a proposed legislation only links it
to checking the spread of home made bombs.
"Well, first of all, just to clarify what has and hasn't happened
here, in our understanding, we have not cut $700 million in aid to
Pakistan," State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland told
reporters Tuesday in response to a question.
A Congressional panel had Monday agreed to freeze $700 million in
US aid to Pakistan unless it helps in the fight against improvised
explosive devices (IEDs) in the region as part of a defence bill
that is expected to be passed this week.
"What we have is something on the defence authorization bill,
which is currently moving in the Congress," Nuland said.
"So, if this legislation becomes law, we'll work with the
Government of Pakistan on how we can fulfil the requirements. But,
this requires us to maintain a strategic perspective and to be
clear with our Congress about the strategy," she said.
Asked to comment on reports that Islamabad was insisting on an
apology for the NATO strike that killed 24 US soldiers to bring
US-Pakistan relationship back on track, she said: "While this
relationship is sometimes difficult, it's very important for the
United States and Pakistan to continue to work together"
US-Pakistan relations, which have been strained since the May 2 US
raid killing Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, hit a
new low over a Nov 26 NATO airstrike killing 24 Pakistani soldiers
near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
(Arun Kumar can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)