|Zardari, Obama visits must bolster Pakistan-US relations: American expert
Friday, 04 February 2011 11:00:36
Zardari, Obama visits must bolster Pakistan-US relations: American expert
WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari can fight for what Pakistan needs during his visit to the United States this year and Washington should make use of the opportunity to advance relations between the two countries, a leading American expert argued at a think tank discussion. Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution and former adviser to the Obama Administration, said the reciprocal visits by President Zardari and President Barack Obama should be used to put the relations between the two countries on a more positive course.
The U.S. must not squander the significance and symbolic value of the Pakistani president’s expected visit to Washington and President Zardari should be asked to address a joint session of U.S. Congress to make the case for Pakistan.
“He can fight for what Pakistan needs,” Riedel said at the U.S. Institute of Peace during a discussion on Pakistan’s future.
Likewise, President Barack Obama’s pledge to visit Pakistan is rich with substantive and symbolic value.
Riedel believed Obama should meet as many Pakistanis as he can.
“This is an enormously important visit,” added Riedel. “He needs to connect with the Pakistani people.”
At the event, the South Asian experts said the U.S. policy in the region must better emphasize the relationship between Pakistan and India and there should be discussion on the Kashmir dispute, which has been at the heart of tensions between the two nuclear neighbors.
“The United States must have its own views on Kashmir - I think we should speak up and talk about this,” said the Brookings Institution’s acclaimed expert Stephen Cohen.
Shuja Nawaz, Director of South Asian center at the Atlantic Council stressed that Kashmiris should matter more unlike the talks Islamabad and New Delhi have had in the past.
“I see Kashmir as a great opportunity,” he remarked.