US President Barack Obama has told Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that his country should not discriminate between terrorist groups.
“One piece that was important to the President is that Pakistan (should) not discriminate against terrorist groups. That’s something that we’ve made clear in the past and was reiterated yesterday in the bilateral meeting,” White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters at his daily news conference on Friday.
According to officials in Washington, Pakistan only targeted terrorist groups that attacked the Pakistani State.
Obama met Sharif at the Oval Office on Thursday for about 90 minutes.
“Obama underscored that the United States is committed to a broad, sustainable, and enduring partnership with Pakistan that delivers progress for the Pakistani people and reinforces Pakistan’s democracy and civil society,” Schultz said.
“Specifically on terrorism President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif both noted that our two countries are threatened by terrorist groups, and that the Pakistani people have suffered greatly,” he added.
“These leaders committed to continue bilateral counterterrorism cooperation. Obama highlighted the importance of Pakistan undertaking effective action against terrorists that seek to undermine peaceful dialogue and destabilise the region,” Schultz said.
Sharif left for Pakistan on Friday after concluding his four day official trip to the US. The State Department described his visit as a successful.
“The visit overall highlighted our strong and growing relationship with Pakistan, and frankly, provided an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation on a range of issues,” state department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said.
“Obviously, first and foremost is security, but there are other issues of mutual interest, including cooperation on economic growth, trade, investment, clean energy, nuclear security, climate change, and regional stability,” he said.
Pakistan, he said is deeply affected by terrorism and has taken steps to counter that terrorism in the recent past.
“We want to see those efforts expand. But it’s such a complex dynamic. You’ve got Afghanistan and the Taliban’s continued presence there on one side. You do have tensions with India, and those need to be addressed,” Toner said.
Responding to a question, Toner reiterated that India and Pakistan need to resolve their disputes bilaterally and through peaceful means.
“We have been very clear that India and Pakistan need dialogue. They need to continue to discuss with each other their mutual concerns about security and that they need greater engagement, because frankly, better dialogue, improved dialogue, greater cooperation between those two countries is important for all the security of the entire region,” Toner said.