US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed hope on Sunday that Pakistan’s recent reopening of Nato supply lines into Afghanistan might lead to a broader rapprochement in
US-Pakistani relations after a difficult period for the reluctant allies.
After attending a 70-nation Afghan aid conference in Tokyo, Clinton met privately with Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar to discuss reviving the US-Pakistani relationship, which has suffered a series of debilitating crises over the last year-and-a-half but is still seen as critical for the stability of South Asia.
It was their first meeting since Clinton’s apology last week for the November killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by Nato, a move that led to the end of Pakistan's seven-month blockade of the supply routes.
“We are both encouraged that we’ve been able to put the recent difficulties behind us so we can focus on the many challenges ahead of us,” Clinton told reporters. “We want to use the positive momentum generated by our recent agreement to take tangible steps on our many shared, core interests.”
The most important of these, Clinton said, was fighting militant groups. They have used Pakistan as a rear base to attack US troops and jeopardise the future of Afghanistan.
She and Khar “focused on the necessity of defeating the terror networks that threaten the stability of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as the interests of the United States,” Clinton said.