Islamabad, Dec 16: The US must respect Pakistan's “red lines” and give a guarantee that there will be no transgression of the country's borders in order to regain Islamabad's cooperation in the war on terrorism, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said today.
Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with US Ambassador Cameron Munter, who “emphasised that both Pakistan and the US should fully cooperate to fight the menace of terrorism,” said a statement from the Premier's office.
Pakistan “wanted to work with the US to defeat the common enemy” of terrorism, Gilani said.
“The Prime Minister, however, made it clear to the Ambassador that Pakistan's red lines should be respected, adding that the US must ensure respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan with the guarantee of non-occurrence of the transgression of Pakistan's frontiers in future,” the statement said.
Anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries has virtually stopped after a cross-border NATO air strike on two military posts killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26.
Pakistan closed all NATO supply routes and forced US personnel to vacate Shamsi airbase, which was used by CIA-operated drones.
Gilani had referred to Pakistan's “red lines” for cooperating with the US while making a policy statement in parliament yesterday.
He had said the conditions included “sovereign equality and mutual respect, no unilateral actions inside Pakistan or against Pakistan and no transgression of our territorial frontiers.”
The Premier told the US envoy that “it was his primary responsibility to safeguard Pakistan's dignity and honour.”
In a reference to the NATO air strike, he said: “Respect for sovereignty and non-repeat of unilateral action were the very minimum that Pakistan expected.”
Gilani said the government should be credited for “the ownership the nation had assumed regarding the war on terror” and Parliament too was fully behind the government in this regard.
“No war can be fought without the support of the people,” he said.
He reiterated Islamabad's position that “an independent, prosperous and stable Afghanistan was in Pakistan's interests.”
Gilani said: “We will support process of reconciliation in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and does not destabilise Pakistan.”
US Ambassador Munter said the “common enemy must be defeated” and for this the US and Pakistan need to “focus and cooperate with each other with commitment and single-mindedness.”
The convergence of interests between the two sides against the enemy provided a “realistic basis and common ground to continue to collaborate and save the world from the curse of extremism and terrorism,” Munter said.
Pakistan-US ties have been buffeted by a series of crises since the beginning of the year.
The tensions peaked after the US raid that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May and humiliated the powerful Pakistani military.
The ties plunged to a fresh low after the NATO attack and Prime Minister Gilani has called for framing “new terms of engagement” with the US as part of a foreign policy revamp.