U.S.-Pakistan Statement: What’s Faisal Shahzad Between Friends?
It’s really the last sentence of the two-paragraph joint statement emerging from national security adviser Jim Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta’s visit to Pakistan that’s important. “President Zardari noted that Pakistan desires a long-term, multifaceted, and durable relationship with the United States which no incident should be able to adversely impact,” the statement reads. That’s a response to a still-reverberating comment from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said soon after the failed Times Square car bomb attempt that there would be “severe consequences” should a successful attack ever be traced back to Pakistan. (Her spokesman, P.J. Crowley, has tried to walk the comments back, saying, “I think she was responding to a hypothetical question.”)
But what did the Panetta-Jones trip reap from the Pakistanis? “Both parties acknowledged the extreme challenge of thwarting each and every plot and terrorist action, both sides pledged to intensify efforts, increase cooperation, and do everything possible to protect our citizens,” the statement reads. Here it is in full:
The productive discussions covered U.S.-Pakistan relations, the security situation in the region, the shared terrorist threat and fight against extremists, and the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue. General Jones reiterated the United States’ long-term commitment to the strategic partnership with Pakistan, including support for creating economic opportunity for the Pakistani people. The talks provided an opportunity to review progress on the many areas addressed in the recent strategic dialogue held in Washington. Both sides expressed their commitment to strengthening ties across the broad spectrum of issues between our countries, including trade, economic growth, and development. The parties agreed to continue frequent government-to-government contacts and further senior-level engagement in order to advance our common interests and provide a better, more secure future for our people.
President Asif Ali Zardari said that militancy and terrorism was the common enemy and that the existing robust cooperation between the two countries must continue to fight the menace. General Jones and Director Panetta provided an update on the ongoing investigation into the Times Square terrorist incident. General Jones expressed appreciation for the excellent cooperation the United States is receiving from Pakistan as well as the tremendous sacrifice of the Pakistani military, law enforcement and people in their efforts to combat extremists. The talks covered measures that both countries are, and will be, taking to confront the common threat we face from extremists and prevent such potential attacks from occurring again and both parties acknowledged the extreme challenge of thwarting each and every plot and terrorist action, both sides pledged to intensify efforts, increase cooperation, and do everything possible to protect our citizens. President Zardari noted that Pakistan desires a long-term, multifaceted, and durable relationship with the United States which no incident should be able to adversely impact.
Watch if U.S. intelligence officials still tell reporters that Pakistan is withholding crucial terrorism intelligence after Jones and Panetta fly home.