Conditions attached to $7.5 billion aid to Pak: William Burns
Seeking to allay India's concerns on its $ 7.5 billion assistance to Pakistan, US Undersecretary of State William Burns today said that the US is much focussed in ensuring that the money is used for the purpose it is intended. Suicide bombers kill 14 in Peshawarindia Updated: Oct 16, 2009 21:44 IST
Seeking to allay India's concerns on its $ 7.5 billion assistance to Pakistan, the United States on Friday said the law enacted for the purpose has "conditions attached" to ensure that the money is used only for development.
"We made very clear that there were conditions attached to this legislation," US Undersecretary of State William Burns
said when asked about the US law that triples development aid to Pakistan.
"In this case for development in Pakistan, we are very much focussed in ensuring that the money is used for the purpose it is intended and there are measures built in to ensure that takes place," he told reporters in New Delhi.
US President Barack Obama had on Thursday signed into law the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 -– popularly known as Kerry-Lugar Bill that will provide $ 7.5 billion aid to Pakistan in the next five years.
India had voiced concerns over development aid being diverted by Pakistan to support operations against it.
"India's concern is only that aid has to be appropriated for the purpose for which it is provided by the United
States," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had said.
The spate of terror attacks in Pakistan, Burns said underscored the need for support to the leadership in Islamabad to tackle "firmly and vigorously" the challenge posed by extremists there.
Expressing concern on the situation in Afghanistan and rising violence in Pakistan, Burns said it "simply underscores the importance of our collective efforts to support Afghan authorities in the fight against violent extremists who have in the past done great damage to many of us and who threaten all of us in the future.
"The same is true with regard to the support we provide to the Pakistani leadership to take on firmly and vigorously the challenge posed by violent extremists inside Pakistan."
Terming the civil nuclear deal between the two countries as an "historic step", Burns said the Obama administration was firmly committed to its implementation and there should be no apprehensions in this regard.
"The Obama administration remains firmly committed to the implementation of the civil nuclear agreement. We believe it is an historic step which benefits both of our countries," he said. He was replying to a question on whether the new US policy on NPT would affect the Indo-US nuclear deal.
He noted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had declared his support for the broad objectives laid out by President Obama in his speech in Prague earlier this year.
Burns said India had also shown interest in the global summit on nuclear security proposed by Obama in Washington.
"We have before us an opportunity to cooperate on a wide range of issues. But there should be no apprehension on this administration's firm support for the civil nuclear agreement," he said.
Burns said his discussions with top Indian officials also focused on pressing global and regional concerns including the situation in Afghanistan and the shared interest in fighting violent extremists in the region.
He said the US will continue to urge Pakistan to act firmly and quickly against extremists who threaten its own interests as well as the interest of all of us committed to stability in the region.