Defense Department Regular Briefing
1:03 p.m. EDT Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Q: And George, related question. As far as security of Afghanistan is concerned, it depends on how the review is between U.S., NATO and Pakistan, which is now going on. And Pakistan’s foreign minister, Madam Khar, she has said that routes should be open between the two countries. And my question is that — but there are certain conditions they are putting, and you know them, in the future but still now. One, drone attacks must immediately be stopped by the U.S. against Pakistan. And second, some kind of apology, not just what they are saying U.S. had said in the past. And finally, about the Haqqani network or terrorism in Pakistan is a concern. So where do we stand on this opening of the routes?
MR. LITTLE: We have been in discussions with the government of Pakistan for some time on the reopening of the ground lines of communication, and we are hopeful that in the very near future they will be reopened. They’re important supply routes for us. We continue to work closely with the Pakistanis to renew a vibrant relationship that gets over some of the obstacles we faced together in the past. On the issue of terrorism, look, this is a common concern for both the United States and Pakistan. The secretary’s been very clear on this on repeated occasion. The same terrorists that come after us go after Pakistanis and have been, in fact, responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis. So we have common cause on the issue of counterterrorism. And our counterterrorism cooperation does continue. We, at the end of the day, believe that we share common interests with Pakistan. The relationship, we believe, is getting to where it needs to be. And that’s why we’re committed to ongoing dialogue, not just on GLOCs and on terrorism, but across the full range of security issues that we have common interest on.
Q: Follow-up on that?
Q: (Inaudible) –
Q: Has the administration ruled out apology in this case?
MR. LITTLE: We’ve expressed — you mean, for the border incident that took place in November? Well, I would reiterate what we said in December, and that is that we’ve expressed deep regret and extended our condolences to the Pakistani people, to the Pakistani government, and of course to the families of the loved ones who were lost and of course those who were injured in the incident as well. So we have been clear about expressing regret for that incident, and the goal now is to press ahead, move forward, and reinvigorate the relationship with our Pakistani partners.
State Department Regular Briefing
12:39 p.m. EDT Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Q: NATO announced today that Pakistan is being invited to the — to the summit in Chicago. And I’m just wondering what this means in terms of the — whether there’s a resolution yet on reopening the transit line.
MS. NULAND: Well, as I said yesterday, we are continuing our discussions with the Pakistanis. Our technical team is still there. We are making progress. We have not yet completed an agreement. We do consider the agreement important, but we also consider — and all of our NATO partners considered it important — to have Pakistan in the ISAF and neighbors event at the summit in Chicago.
Q: But –
MS. NULAND: So the invitation has in fact been issued.
Q: But do you want them there, even if they’re being incredibly unhelpful and actually hindering the mission rather than helping it with the supply line closure?
MS. NULAND: Well, as Secretary General Rasmussen said when he was here, as a neighbor of Afghanistan, Pakistan does have an important role to play in supporting Afghan security. We do want to see these land routes opened. We are continuing to work on it. But we thought it was important to have them at the summit in this partnership role.
Q: Fine. Well, China is a neighbor of Pakistan too. Are they getting invited?
MS. NULAND: Well, they don’t provide the kind of –
Q: Well, neither does Pakistan.
MS. NULAND: Again, we are continuing to work on this. And we’ve decided to –
Q: Is it an unreasonable expectation that you will have a deal done (but?) they had gotten the invitation? Don’t you have some kind of a guarantee or a promise or a pledge from them?
MS. NULAND: As I said, Matt, we are making progress, and we will continue to work on this throughout the week. Obviously, it’ll be a wonderful signal if we can get it done by the time of the summit. But we decided nonetheless — NATO countries all together decided that it was important to have Pakistan in the ISAF meeting.
Q: Was that — was that determination that it was important to have them there — is that a new determination? I mean, presumably the calculus has been that they should be — you know, that their importance has not — is not new. Why — so why the timing on this decision now? And why didn’t you invite them a month ago?
MS. NULAND: Well, I can refer you to NATO on the precise timing. But as I said, we are making progress in these conversations. We are not finished yet, but we are making some good progress. And we are going to continue to work on it all the way through the week and as long as it takes.
Q: But Madam?
MS. NULAND: Please.
Q: To follow up?
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
Q: Have you seen comments from foreign secretary of Pakistan, from foreign minister of Pakistan, Miss — Madam Khar, that she made publicly that was suggested that routes should be open? I mean, the kind of comments she made publicly, which means Pakistan has already decided — or something must have been already decided in both sides. Have they — has she phoned you or she talked to somebody here?
MS. NULAND: Well, we did talk about this yesterday here, Goyal. We do welcome the comments that she made. I think they’re part and parcel of the progress that we’re making in our conversation together. But it’s not finished till it’s finished.
Q: Let me just ask you one more quickly. Two major — three major problems were there, actually. Let me just repeat — I know you’ve said yesterday same thing — one, that U.S. should or NATO should stop drone attacks immediately, and second, some kind of apology, and third, a major problem is also from both sides, that — what will you do about the Haqqani network and other terrorists which are being in that country and supported by the Pakistanis?
MS. NULAND: Was there a question there, Goyal?
Q: I mean, are they’re part of the talks, or are you — (inaudible) — issues, or –
MS. NULAND: Well, all the issues that you’ve mentioned have been discussed in the context of the larger re-engagement conversation that we’re having with Pakistan in the wake of their parliamentary review. An additional issue in those conversations is the technical discussion about opening the GLOCs. So these are all part of the same big umbrella, but the GLOC conversation is being handled now at the technical level as we try to work through the issues.
Q: May I add one more, if you don’t mind, please? A different issue, but related to Pakistan. There are major problems going on as far as human rights issues are concerned in Pakistan, as far as minorities are concerned, like Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, basically, major problem there because recent case by the Supreme Court — they are — Hindu girls or Sikhs are being — the girls are being forced, kidnapped, and they marry them by force and then go — case go to the Supreme Court, and Supreme Court doesn’t take any actions — (inaudible) — recent case there. So they are asking that the U.S. should intervene as far as human rights and forced marriages are concerned against minorities in Pakistan.
MS. NULAND: Well, I think you know that we’re never shy about talking to the government of Pakistan, speaking publicly when we have human rights concerns. I think you also know that it is coming soon upon the season when our annual human rights reports are issued. So I would expect that, as we always do, we’ll have something to say this year on the issues that you raise.