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U.S., Pakistan search for new relationship

Jan. 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The United States and Pakistan are trying to work through their rocky relationship so they move on to matters of mutual interest, U.S. officials said.

As relations have sunk since an inadvertent November border clash in which a U.S. air assault killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the two countries are working for what one Obama administration official called a "new normal," something between a strategic alliance and a more businesslike arrangement, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"It'll be much more realpolitik," another U.S. official said. "It's getting away from the grandiose vision of what could be to focusing on what is."

A senior Pakistani military official told the Post, "We've had some glorious times," citing intervals of intelligence and military cooperation while pursuing al-Qaida and Taliban militants.

The Pakistani official said the November attack was the latest in a long line of insulting behavior shown by the United States last year, including the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor in Lahore, the U.S. Special Operations raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and the assertion by then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen that the insurgent Haqqani network was a "veritable arm" of Pakistani intelligence.

A Pakistani parliamentary committee is conducting what Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani called "a full review of the terms of cooperation" with the United States and the U.S.-led international coalition in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity are not negotiable," Gilani said.

A senior Pakistani government official told the Post the committee's recommendations likely would include a demand for clear U.S. assurances that there will be no violation of sovereignty, a demand for prior notification and approval of every airstrike and compensation for U.S. and NATO supplies using Pakistan's ports and roads, among other things.

The Obama administration indicates it will try to hold off responding until Pakistani lawmakers finish their review, the Post said.

"We have views on where we'd like to see this go," a U.S. official said. But it will "take another week or two … for their internal process to come to some kind of formal communication that would be communicated back to us."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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