Senate OKs non-military aid to Pakistan

Sept. 25, 2009 at 2:12 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The passage of a Senate bill for $1.5 billion per year for non-military aid to Pakistan exemplifies renewed bilateral ties to Washington, lawmakers say.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Dick Lugar, the ranking Republican from Indiana, welcomed the unanimous passing in the Senate of a revised version of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, which will triple non-military aid Pakistan.

Kerry in his statements praising the act says the version, passed Thursday, secures June provisions for $1.5 million in non-military aid for Pakistan for the next five years.

"This act represents a collaboration between both Democrats and Republicans, in both Senate and the House, to forge a new long-term relationship between the people of America and Pakistan," he added.

His comments come on the heels of a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top Pakistani officials, including President Asif Ali Zardari.

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, said Clinton, during her meetings with Pakistani officials, pledged to cooperate more closely with Pakistan on the delivery of aid.

"She's looking for ways, in the delivery of aid, to try to cut out the middlemen so that more of this aid, a higher percentage of the aid, ends up improving the situation on the ground," said Crowley.

The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to consider the measure next week.

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