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Will stand by Pak government: US

world Updated: Sep 11, 2010 18:48 IST

The US will stand by the democratic government in Pakistan as it tackles the crisis caused by unprecedented floods across the country, Vice President Joseph Biden has said.

The assurance was conveyed by Biden during a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday.

The move came against the backdrop of speculation about the Pakistani military stepping in following the civilian government's ineffective handling of the humanitarian crisis.

Biden reiterated "US support for the democratic set-up in Pakistan and the commitment of the US government to stand by Pakistan throughout the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases to mitigate the effects of devastation caused by the unprecedented floods", said a statement issued by Gilani's office.

A statement issued by the US embassy here too said Biden reiterated "US government support to Pakistan during the current flood crisis".

Biden underlined that the US is "standing by Pakistan during this challenging time".

Gilani said democracy has "firmly taken roots in Pakistan and all the democratic institutions were fully functional without interference in each other's purview".

He thanked the US leadership for its unequivocal and unambiguous stance on supporting and strengthening democracy in Pakistan.

The US has emerged as the largest donor of aid for the millions of flood victims in Pakistan.

It has provided about 260 million dollars in emergency humanitarian assistance and other civilian and military in-kind assistance in the form of meals, pre-fabricated steel bridges and infrastructure support.

The US has also dispatched 25 helicopters and two C-17s and five C-130 heavy lift aircraft for relief missions.

"While we continue our immediate flood relief, we are also pursuing a full-fledged diplomatic effort to encourage additional international resources to help Pakistan rebuild," Biden said.

The two leaders discussed ongoing coordination as Pakistan transitions from relief to recovery efforts.

Gilani told Biden that his government has obtained the consensus of all four provinces and stakeholders to establish an oversight council to supervise the collection, division and use of all local and foreign aid.

He said the US should use its influence with the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank to ease their conditions for loans given to Pakistan and to provide the country additional funds for reconstruction of flooded areas.

Gilani also said the next round of the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue scheduled for October should focus on concrete support for Pakistan's economic recovery and the US should take the lead role for assuring the country's economic and political stability.