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Joint Indo-Pak statement an important step: US

world Updated: Jul 18, 2009 08:22 IST

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The United States on Saturday said the joint statement issued by India and Pakistan, following the meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two nations on sidelines of NAM Summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh, is "an important step towards the stability in the region".

"The meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh and the statement between the Indian leader and the Pakistani leader in terms of cooperation on terrorism (is) vitally important to stability in the region," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Philip J Crowley, told reporters.

He said, the Obama Administration recognizes that it was ultimately greater integration among the countries in the region, working on common challenges, regional challenges, finding new structures to be able to expand this cooperation.

"That will be how the region ultimately overcomes the challenges that it's facing," Crowley said.

After the announcement of Af-Pak policy in late March, he said the US has been engaged in diplomacy with the two countries. Besides travelling to India now, US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton would be visiting Pakistan later this year.

The Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, will be departing Washington early next week for stops in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, as well as Brussels, Belgium, Crowley said.

"So I think in the first six months of the Obama Administration, obviously, not only is the Secretary and the President focused on these, but you have, through Richard Holbrooke and others within the State Department, intensive focus on the challenge in South Asia," he said.

"We recognize that it is ultimately greater integration among these countries, working on common challenges, regional challenges, finding new structures to be able to expand this cooperation," Crowley said.