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Zardari asks US to transfer drone technology to Pakistan

Source: PTI
January 08, 2010 00:41 IST
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US drone attacks in Pakistani territory are undermining the war on terror, President Asif Ali Zardari told an American Congressional delegation on Thursday, asking Washington to provide the drone technology to his country's armed forces.

Zardari also said that the economic cost of the war against terror, amounting to $35 billion over the past eight years, has "almost paralysed Pakistan's economy".

He made the remarks during a meeting with a US Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain.

The president "pointed out that (US) drone attacks on Pakistani territory undermined the national consensus against the war on militancy", said a statement issued by the presidential spokesman.

Zardari asked the "American delegation to persuade US policy-makers to give drone technology to Pakistan so that militants could be targeted by Pakistan's national security forces themselves rather than by foreign troops, which raised questions of sovereignty".

Referring to the expenditure on the war against terror, Zardari said, "Pakistan has been facing delays in payments of Coalition Support Fund claims."

He called for timely reimbursements of over one billion dollars owed by the US.

Pakistan also has "legitimate interests" in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the US "must remain sensitive to Pakistan's core national interests and concerns", Zardari said.

"US actions should remain on the Afghan side of the border," he added.

US aid for Pakistan should be "channelled through the government in accordance with our priorities and programmes", he told the American delegation, which includes Senators Joseph Lieberman and Johan Barrasso.

Zardari also underlined the need for the strategic partnership between Pakistan and the US to be based on "mutual interest, respect and mutual trust".

He welcomed President Barack Obama's affirmation of US commitment to Pakistan's stability, security and prosperity and said democratic stability in the country "is contingent upon advancement of our development agenda for which US support is critical".
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