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Future drone strikes will be detrimental to ties, Pak tells U.S.

Sartaj-Aziz

Islamabad : In a stern note, Pakistan on Friday told the United States that any future drone strikes conducted in its territory would be detrimental to the relationship between the two countries.

Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs, conveyed the sentiments to visiting U.S. delegation, comprising of senior White House officials, on Friday, reports the Dawn.

The delegation was led by U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson and Senior Adviser and Senior Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. National Security Council Dr. Peter Lavoy. The Pakistan side was represented by Aziz and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry.

Taking a strong exception to drone strike in Balochistan on May 21 that killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, Aziz told the U.S. officials, “That was not only a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and breach of the principles of the United Nation’s Charter, but has also vitiated bilateral ties”.

The two sides also held discussions on bilateral relations, regional security situation and the Afghan peace process in wake of the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, said a Foreign Office statement.

The adviser expressed that the drone strike had “seriously undermined the ongoing efforts for Afghan peace and reconciliation process at a time when Pakistan, along with other Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) countries, was engaged in serious efforts to revive peace talks between Afghan Government and the Taliban”.

Aziz reminded the U.S. delegation about the QCG’s fifth meeting on May 18 this year when it was decided that peace negotiations remained the only option for a political settlement.

Islamabad also said that it is pursuing its objective of eliminating all militants and terrorists from its soil in accordance with the National Action Plan, in response to U.S. concerns over alleged safe havens of Taliban here.

It also informed in the meeting action by Afghan forces against Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operatives in Afghanistan was expected and that such steps would reduce mistrust between both nations. (ANI)

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