ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameroon Munter on Monday said that the United States would ensure that there is no repetition of the incidents like Salala attack, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers lost their lives. In an interview with PTV, he said there was mechanism in place on both sides of the border to prevent such things, but the fact that it did happen, indicates failure of the mechanism.
He said based on the findings of the inquiry, which is under way, the United States would take steps to ensure such incidents do not recur in future.
Munter, however, said for this to happen both Pakistan and the United States will have to remain engaged and talk to each other.
He said the US wants restoration of the bilateral relationship to its previous level.
He reiterated the US claim that the attack was not deliberate and said the loss of lives of Pakistani soldiers was as unfortunate and regrettable as the loss of American soldiers.
“This was a terrible tragedy. Something that happened that was not planned and what we need to do is that we need to get to the bottom of it,” he said.
“We want to make sure that your people have the answers they deserve through an investigation that we are to carry out in the next couple of weeks,” he added.
When his attention was drawn to previous inquiries in similar attacks that produced no tangible results, the US Ambassador said his country requested Pakistan to join investigation of the incident, but Pakistan has decided not to join it.
He said when result of the inquiry would be known within a few weeks, they will share it with Pakistan.
“Of course the results would be shared with Pakistan because US is fighting against militancy. That is why the US called for Pakistan to take part in the Bonn Conference where the long term future of Afghanistan is to be decided,” he said.
Asked to comment on Pakistan’s oft-repeated stance that it wanted new rules of engagement, Munter said the two sides should talk to each other at different levels. There is a need for leaders to remain engaged and there should be interaction between militaries, intelligence agencies and economic experts, he added.
He contradicted reports that the US economic assistance to Pakistan had been suspended or blocked and said it was continuing under Kerry-Lugar-Bermin Bill.
He said the United States wants Pakistan to succeed and is ready to provide every kind of cooperation for the purpose.
Calling for more engagements he said, US is committed to help Pakistan progress. “We need to engage ourselves at all levels and discuss the issues relating to security, economic, energy and more. We should take advantage of natural friendship of our people because we knew ultimately Pakistan’s success is our success.”
Replying to a question about perception in Pakistan that the country should come out of the war on terror, he said as far as Mohmand Agency attack is concerned, “We understand the concerns of people of Pakistan as it was a terrible tragedy.”
About broader question of war against terror, he said: “Both were facing militants. This is not just America’s war but people of Pakistan are also threatened by terrorists.”
He said Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States should work together to eliminate this threat.
About Bonn Conference, he said the United States wanted Pakistan to attend the moot but “we respect its decision not to participate”.
To a question he said the claim of Mansoor Ejaz that someone in Pakistan was notified about Osama operation in Abbottabad was false.
“I don’t know who is Mansoor Ijaz. But what he (Mansoor Ijaz) makes the statements like this that he believed that certain people had been notified in advance is simply false,” he said and added that the US was looking forward to the internal investigation that was taking place in Pakistan. AGENCIES