MABAD - US Ambassador Cameron Munter has said that his country would vacate Shamsi Airbase within the noticed period on the directives of the government of Pakistan.
About the Nato forces attack on the Pakistan checkpost, he regretted the incident, however, he repeated that the attack was not intentional. Investigations in the Nato attack are being done in a transparent way as we want to reach the facts involved, Munter said while giving an interview to Waqt News with reference to the Pak-US relations here on Monday. About Pakistans demand for apology from the US and Nato and why are they not doing so, the US ambassador said that Washington did not want take any premature decision as nothing concrete had so far been come out of the investigation. His country would take an appropriate decision only after facts come out of the ongoing probe into the incident, he maintained.
He mentioned that a couple of days ago, US President Obama had phoned President Asif Zardari and offered his condolences with him over the killing of 24 army personnel in the Nato attack and told that fair investigations were under way in the incident.
To another question that Pakistan is being targeted through repeated aggression like Ramond Davis killing of two Pakistanis in Lahore, then Abbottabad operation without any giving information to the authorities and now the Nato attack, Munter said that it was unfortunate that such incidents had occurred repeatedly. Pakistan is neither being targeted nor is being charge sheeted, he added.
Our common enemies are targeting people in Pakistan and Afghanistan, he explained. We are involved in negotiations with the government of Pakistan to find out a solution to crush these enemies.
When questioned as to why US does not repose trust in Pakistan, which has so far lost its 5,000 army men and over 30,000 civilians in addition to economic devastation, the envoy said that it was a point of worry. We positively evaluate the sacrifices Pakistan has rendered in the war on terror, he remarked, adding that they felt the sufferings of Pakistanis as they had also experienced the 9/11 incident.
He explained that serious efforts were being made to remove misunderstandings between Pakistan and US and to ensure that these 'mistakes do not recur.
To a question about Pakistans boycott of the Bonn Conference, Munter said that being a neighbouring state it was Pakistans privilege to participate in the conference and present its point of view there, however, it was Pakistans own decision.
To yet another question when will the confidence between both the states be restored, he said that it needed tough and consistent efforts and for that matter negotiations at all levels should continue. Pakistan and US have a 60-year long friendship and people of both the states want to see this relationship strong and stable in future, he concluded.
Agencies add: In an interview with another private TV channel, Munter termed Mansoor Ijazs statements pack of lies, in which the latter levelled serious allegations against President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistans former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani. Munter said the recent statements made by Mansoor Ijaz were false.
While talking to PTV, Munter said that the US would ensure that there is no repetition of the incidents like Salala attack. He said there was mechanism in place on both sides of the border to prevent such things but the fact that it did happen, indicates failure of the mechanism.
He said based on the findings of the inquiry, which is under way, the United States would take steps to ensure such incidents do not recur in future.
Munter, however, said for this to happen both Pakistan and the United States will have to remain engaged and talk to each other. He said the US wants restoration of the bilateral relationship to its previous level.
He reiterated the US claim that the attack was not deliberate and said the loss of lives of Pakistani soldiers was as unfortunate and regrettable as the loss of American soldiers.
When his attention was drawn to previous inquiries in similar attacks that produced no tangible results, the US ambassador said his country requested Pakistan to join investigation of the incident, but Pakistan has decided not to join it.
He said when result of the inquiry would be known within a few weeks, they will share it with Pakistan.
Asked to comment on Pakistans oft-repeated stance that it wanted new rules of engagement, Munter said the two sides should talk to each other at different levels. There is a need for leaders to remain engaged and there should be interaction between militaries, intelligence agencies and economic experts, he added.
He contradicted reports that the US economic assistance to Pakistan had been suspended or blocked and said it was continuing under Kerry-Lugar-Bermin Bill.
He said the United States wants Pakistan to succeed and is ready to provide every kind of cooperation for the purpose.
Replying to a question about perception in Pakistan that the country should come out of the war on terror, he said as far as Mohmand Agency attack is concerned, We understand the concerns of people of Pakistan as it was a terrible tragedy.
About broader question of war against terror, he said: Both were facing militants. This is not just Americas war but people of Pakistan are also threatened by terrorists.
He said Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States should work together to eliminate this threat.
About the Bonn conference, he said the United States wanted Pakistan to attend the moot but we respect its decision not to participate.