US, Pakistan to start new chapter in relations
Updated: 2013-08-02 10:01
The United States and Pakistan agreed on Thursday to re-establish a "full partnership", hoping to end years of animosity over US drone strikes on Pakistani soil, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other grievances.
US Secretary of State John Kerry walks into a meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Thursday. Kerry said the two countries will resume high-level negotiations over security issues. Jason Reed / Reuters
"We are here to speak honestly with each other, openly about any gaps that may exist that we want to try to bridge," US Secretary of State John Kerry said during an unannounced visit to Islamabad. "Our people deserve that we talk directly."
Both sides are now keen to overcome the grievances and start afresh, a shift in priorities they hope is possible with a new government in Pakistan and a new secretary of state in the US.
With Pakistan's economy badly in need of support and the US keen on smoothly withdrawing most of its troops from neighboring Afghanistan next year, both sides will see positives in repairing the relationship.
Speaking after talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, Kerry - who as a senator sponsored legislation to provide $7 billion in assistance to Pakistan over five years - said the two countries were serious about overcoming past irritants.
He invited Sharif to visit the US - Pakistan's biggest donor - for talks with US President Barack Obama.
"America does not want to have a transactional relationship, we do not want to have a relationship based on one moment or based on issues such as counter-terrorism or Afghanistan," Kerry said.
"What was important today was that there was a determination ... to move this relationship to the full partnership that it ought to be, and to find the ways to deal with individual issues that have been irritants over the course of the past years."
He added: "And I believe that the prime minister is serious about doing that. And I know that President Obama is also."