Washington, DC- The United States on Tuesday (Sept 6) categorically ruled out any sanctions on Pakistan over its safe-havens for terrorists and was instead engaging in bilateral dialogue with the erring country.
Addressing journalists at the daily State Department press briefing, Mark Toner, the Deputy Spokesperson said.”Secretary Kerry spoke to this during his trip to the region, to his trip to Bangladesh and India last week, that we have had very frank conversations with Pakistan’s leadership and military leadership about the need to focus more efforts on those terrorist groups.” which are operating from within Pakistani territory.
During a recent visit to India, US Secretary of State John Kerry told journalists in Delhi, “We don’t make distinctions between good and bad terrorists. Terror is terror,” thus reiterating America’s support to India’s demand that Pakistan punish the attackers involved in 26/11 and January’s terror strike on the Pathankot air force base.
Noting that the US was continuing discussions with Pakistan to rein in terror groups and stop them from operating from within Pakistan, Toner said, “We have seen some efforts to make progress in that regard. We’re going to continue to have those conversations with them as we move forward.”
In reply to a question about the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which six Americans were also killed, Toner said, “We’ve been very clear that we want to see accountability and justice in the case of the Mumbai attacks.” Accepting the fact that US citizens lost their lives in the Mumbai attacks, Toner continued, “We want to see full accountability for these terrible attacks.”
On a question citing a suggestion from Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US ambassador to the UN and Afghanistan and a State Department veteran that the US should impose some kind of sanctions, Toner said, “I don’t think we’re even at that point,” adding that the US was continuing to have “conversations with the highest level of the Government of Pakistan.”
“Our basic point in all of these conversations is that Pakistan must target all militant groups, including those that target Pakistan’s neighbors, and eliminate all safe havens,” stressed Toner.
Toner reiterated, “The question was whether we’re looking at sanctioning Pakistan. No. The answer is that we’re working with Pakistan, we’re making our concerns clear that they need to go after all the terrorist groups that are operating or seeking safe haven on their soil.”