Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Clinton: Pakistan Must Prosecute Terrorists 'Urgently'
By AMOL SHARMA
NEW DELHI – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan has an obligation to prosecute the perpetrators of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai "transparently, fully and urgently" and expressed the U.S. government's "deep sympathy and outrage" at last week's triple bomb blasts in the city that killed 20 people.
She made the remarks after a two-and-a-half hour meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, part of a range of talks the countries are holding this week in an effort to strengthen ties in areas such as counter-terrorism, security, trade, and science and technology.
Mrs. Clinton said she has urged Pakistani officials to swiftly punish militants on its soil who carried out a bloody siege of Mumbai in November 2008 that left 166 people dead. Pakistan has charged seven people but their trials have moved slowly and India believes the masterminds are still at large.
"We made it very clear that Pakistan needs to bring people to justice," Mrs. Clinton said. "There is a limit to what both the U.S and India can do, but we intend to press as hard as possible."
She also said she was "encouraged" that India and Pakistan are trying to restart broad-ranging peace talks, which broke off after the 2008 attack. The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan are slated to meet later this month.
Indian officials haven't named any suspects in the blasts that shook Mumbai during rush hour on July 13, but have said they believe the explosions were a coordinated terrorist attack.
Mrs. Clinton's visit follows a trip to India last fall by President Barack Obama and comes as the U.S. is trying to shore up India's support for its plans to begin drawing down troops in Afghanistan. India has raised concerns that a sudden or dramatic pullout could result in the Taliban gaining control and collaborating with Pakistan against India's interests.
Mr. Krishna said the U.S. must acknowledge the "ground realities" as it plans any draw-down of forces, to ensure that the Afghanistan government is "in position to defend itself from the terrorists sponsored by the Taliban."
Mrs. Clinton also met with India's Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, opposition leader Sushma Swaraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon. She was scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday evening.
The biggest initiative between the countries in recent years, the 2008 civil nuclear energy pact that was supposed to pave the way for the U.S. to sell billions of dollars worth of nuclear technology to India, has stalled as the two sides try to resolve various outstanding legal issues.
The U.S. wants India to enact an accident liability regime that is more friendly to nuclear equipment suppliers, and is pressing India to ratify this year a treaty that allows countries to tap into an international fund to help pay damages in case of nuclear accidents.
"We need to resolve those issues that still remain (on the nuclear deal) so we can reap the rewards of the extraordinary work both our governments have done," Mrs. Clinton said.
Addressing Indian concerns about the 46-nation Nuclear Supply Group's recently tightened controls for exporting enrichment and reprocessing technologies, she assured Indian officials the changes wouldn't affect the U.S.-India nuclear agreement.
The countries signed agreements on Monday pledging to collaborate on cyber-security efforts and air safety and agreed to resume negotiations toward a bilateral investment treaty that would "enhance transparency and predictability for investors" and facilitate technology transfer, according to a statement from the State Department.
Posted on 07/19/2011 9:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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