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US says cooperation with Pakistan in own long-term security interest

June 8, 2011 - Washington

US-Pak ties have certainly faced "bumps in the road", but ultimately, cooperation with Pakistan is in the United States' long-term security interest, the State Department has said.

"What we're trying to do in Pakistan is to build democratic institutions, to improve Pakistan's security, to help it face an existential threat from terrorism. And that's where our assistance is focused," State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner said during a press briefing.

"And you shouldn't see this as a zero-sum game. A strong, stable, peaceful, and prosperous Pakistan is in the interest of the region. That goes without saying," he added.

Toner said that the US' counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan has yielded results, pointing out that more terrorists have been killed on Pakistani soil over the years than anywhere else in the world, and that were apprehended in Pakistani soil over the years, which is "indicative of our strong counterterrorism cooperation."

"Have there been bumps in the road? Certainly. Did bin Laden's location raise serious concerns? Of course. And we're addressing those concerns," Toner said, referring to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's presence in the vicinity of Pakistan's elite military training institute before he was killed by US troops in a May 2 raid.

"But ultimately, counterterrorism cooperation, and indeed on a broader level cooperation with Pakistan, is in our nation's long-term security interest," he added.


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