WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- A new day has dawned in bilateral relations between the United States and Pakistan, the U.S. secretary of state said ahead of top-level talks in Washington.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for two days of talks in Washington starting Wednesday.
Washington in 2009 linked stability in Pakistan to its revised war strategy to support the Afghan government. Clinton acknowledged that both sides have had their differences but hoped the conference would set a new course for bilateral relations, the Pakistani newspaper The Nation reports.
"(T)his is a new day," she said. "For the past year, (Washington) has shown in our words and deeds a different approach and attitude toward Pakistan."
Qureshi, for his part, said now was the time to forge a new relationship with Washington.
Pakistan in the past had lobbied for expanded intelligence and military cooperation with the U.S. military as Pakistani forces take on Taliban and al-Qaida militants hiding in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington that the battle against insurgents has cast Islamabad in a new light.
He described the bilateral talks in Washington as vital, saying Washington wasn't dictating the terms of the relationship.