Pakistan PM Raises Drone Concerns with US Ambassador

Posted December 6th, 2012 at 11:15 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf expressed concern over U.S. drone strikes in his country during a meeting Thursday in Islamabad with U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson.

The prime minister's office released a statement saying that in the meeting, Mr. Ashraf called the attacks counterproductive and urged alternative means to eliminate terrorists.

Mr. Ashraf's office said the U.S. ambassador noted the concern of Pakistan's government and people and promised to convey it to Washington.

Thursday's talks came as a suspected U.S. drone strike killed three reported militants in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border.

Pakistani intelligence officials say the drone fired two missiles into a house in Mubarak Shahi, located in the North Waziristan tribal area. North Waziristan is a stronghold of al-Qaida- and Taliban-linked militants.

Pakistan has repeatedly criticized U.S. drone attacks as a violation of the country's sovereignty, but American officials say the strikes are a key tool in defeating al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants.

During Thursday's meeting, Prime Minister Ashraf and Ambassador Olson also discussed ties between the United States and Pakistan. Mr. Ashraf said recent interactions between the two countries “have been very encouraging.”

Olson told the prime minister that the U.S. appreciates Pakistan's contributions to the fight against terrorism and wants a long-term relationship with Pakistan based on mutual respect and common interest.

Relations between the two countries were severely strained after Pakistan closed NATO supply routes into Afghanistan following U.S.-led coalition airstrikes that mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border in November of 2011. The government reopened the supply lines in July.