Obama's Pakistan stance gets mixed reviews

March 29, 2009 at 11:33 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 29 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's assertion that there would be no "blank checks" for Pakistan has raised some concerns in Islamabad, officials said.

Pakistani leaders have given generally positive reviews for Obama's policy review of the region, which includes increased aid to the country, Pakistan's English-language newspaper Dawn reported Sunday.

But the U.S. president also said last week, "After years of mixed results, we will not and cannot provide a blank check" for Pakistan -- a statement that has raised red flags, the newspaper said.

Pakistani officials have decided to voice concerns about "certain aspects" of the new U.S. policy, a spokesman for President Asif Ali Zardari said.

"We will speak to them (the United States) on issues of concern in subsequent diplomatic negotiations," Farhatullah Babar told Dawn. He added that while Washington has always voiced misgivings about Islamabad, the positive elements of Obama's strategy were new and needed to be hailed.

But the newspaper said sources in Pakistan's foreign office insisted the reaction there was mixed, guarded and not overly positive.

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