Troika Re-emerges...

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Troika vows to defend borders
The News, September 20, 2008
By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The country’s troika resolved on Friday not to allow the US to conduct air strikes or ground operations inside the Pakistani territory and showed its determination to defend the borders with full force.

It was the crux of an informal meeting President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr here on Friday.

“Matters of national and international interest came under discussion,” said an official announcement about the meeting. With the present set-up being fully in place, it was the first interaction between the three.

Sources privy to their discussions said that they focused on issues arising out of repeated US attacks in Fata, and Pakistan’s principled stand not to allow any foreign forces to conduct these operations. President Zardari is scheduled to meet President Bush next week during his visit to the United Nations in New York, and he is expected to take up this matter with his American counterpart.

“The US would be asked at the summit level to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and a diplomatic breakthrough is likely which President Zardari would love to achieve during his interaction with President Bush,” said a senior official.

The meeting also agreed to adopt a common strategy for the government and the army. According to the sources, the President’s upcoming visits to the US and China also came under discussion during the meeting. Later, the president hosted an Iftar-dinner in honour of the prime minister and the Army chief.

Also See:
Pakistan must control tribal areas”, Hadly
The News, September 20, 2008

WASHINGTON: As Pakistani leaders stand united against U.S. strikes in the tribal areas, Senior Bush administration official Stephan Hadly said Pakistan is not yet equipped to combat its militant threat.

National security adviser to President Stephen Hadley declined to comment on American counterterrorism efforts in Pakistan but said Washington was trying to help Pakistan's government address the threat.

Speaking to the media, he insisted the problem could only be overcome when Pakistan's writ was firmly established in the tribal areas, and that the United States works very closely with Pakistan authorities.

President Zardari is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Bush on the 23rd, and the issue of cross-border strikes is sure to be very high on the agenda.


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