Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pakistan angrily reacts to Panetta statement on drone strikes

Pakistan angrily reacts to Panetta statement on drone strikes
ISLAMABAD, (Xinhua): Pakistan has angrily reacted to remarks by US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, that the American pilot-less aircraft will continue attacks in Pakistan's tribal regions despite the country's protest.

Panetta had said on Wednesday in New Delhi that the US would continue to attack militants in Pakistan's tribal regions despite complaints from Islamabad that the drone strikes violate its sovereignty, and create a sense of anti-Americanism.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S., Sherry Rehman criticized Paneta's assertions and said the statements reduce the space for narrowing bilateral differences between the US and Pakistan.

In response to the media query about the remarks made by the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, she said, "This kind of public messaging from a senior member of the US Administration is taken very seriously in Pakistan, and reduces the space for narrowing our bilateral differences at a critical time in the negotiations."

"It adds an unhelpful twist to the process and leaves little oxygen for those of us seeking to break a stalemate, " she added, according to the statement released by Pakistan embassy in U.S..

Panetta had said in India that Washington has made it very clear that Americans will continue to defend themselves.

It was some of the strongest language used by a US official to describe the strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.

US Defense Secretary also said in Kabul on Thursday that Washington is losing patience with Pakistan on the issue of militant safe havens on the Pakistani side of the border.

Panetta statement shows the mistrust between the two closet allies in the so-called war on terror.

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