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Pak-Afghan border a major source of instability: Hillary Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US administration is vigorously trying to assess what has been done before to deal with the situation and what we are going to be doing.

world Updated: Jan 28, 2009 11:15 IST

President Barack Obama's administration was quick to appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan as it looks at the border areas between them as a source of instability for the two countries and far beyond their borders.

"We are engaged very vigorously in trying to assess what has been done before and what we are going to be doing," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday noting that the Bush administration had begun an ongoing review of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It had put a lot of actions in motion. "And we thought it imperative that we had a high-level representative - and in this case, Richard Holbrooke - to be guiding that process with us."

Clinton, however, declined to say whether Washington would re-look at continued missile strikes in Pakistan resulting in civil casualties even after President Obama was sworn in. "I am not prepared to talk about that."

"I think that, as I mentioned, we are looking very broadly and comprehensively at the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and along their borders," she said. "That is an area that, you know, we are following closely."

"And it will be as we move forward, certainly, a part of our assessment," Clinton said. "But there's little doubt in anyone's mind that the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan are a source of instability for Afghanistan, for Pakistan, and far beyond the borders of those two countries."

"So there will be more to report about our views as to how we're going to proceed in the future," she added.

Obama and she "thought it was important that we, as quickly as possible, set forth our policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan and Pakistan, because we knew we wanted to reengage vigorously from the very beginning in the Middle East," Clinton said.

The US was going to be working on a series of short-term objectives with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, she said. But "we remain committed to the long-term objective of a comprehensive peace that provides security in the context of a two-state solution for the Palestinians."

Talking about the administration's other foreign policy priorities Clinton favoured a "comprehensive dialogue with China.

"The Strategic Dialogue that was begun in the Bush Administration turned into an economic dialogue, and that's a very important aspect of our relationship with China, but it is not the only aspect of our relationship," she said.

The adminitration was designing "a more comprehensive approach that we think will be more in keeping with the important role that China is playing and will be playing as both a regional and international player on so many important issues."

First Published: Jan 28, 2009 10:34 IST