By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
The dialogue is a way for both countries to better work together and inculcate trust, said Frank Ruggiero, deputy director for Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke,
special representative for U.S. and Afghanistan . Pakistan
This is the third strategic dialogue between the countries this year. As part of the dialogue, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen are to meet with Pakistani Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani at the Pentagon tomorrow.
and Pakistani defense leaders also are scheduled to meet to discuss American military aid, counterinsurgency strategy, and flood relief. U.S.
is essential to advancing Pakistan strategic goals in the region and U.S. South Asia, Ruggiero said at the State Department today.
“The strategic dialogue actually provides us the mechanism to achieve our common goals and to build trust in the relationship,” he said. “We’re coming through a period of tension in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, and the strategic dialogue provides a venue to really exchange views with the Pakistanis on a strategic level and to move beyond these tensions in the relationship.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi are leading the dialogue for their respective sides. “They have personally invested a lot of their efforts to redefine the bilateral relationship between the
and the government of United States into a mature, sustained, long-term economic and political partnership,” Ruggiero said. Pakistan
The dialogue is about more than just defense and humanitarian aid. Conversations cover 13 topics ranging from agriculture to energy.
One priority discussion will be
aid to the flood-ravaged nation. “It's really hard to overstate the impact of the floods,” Ruggiero said. More than 1,800 Pakistanis died in the disaster, and more than 20 million were affected by the monsoon-driven rains that pushed the U.S. and its tributaries out of their banks. Indus River
“This will have long-term economic, political, and infrastructure challenges for the government of
,” he said. “Responding to a crisis of this magnitude would be difficult for any government, so we are trying to work with the Pakistanis to help them address this significant natural disaster.” Pakistan
has been the first and the foremost in providing assistance to the flood victims of United States , providing $390 million in immediate relief and recovery efforts. Also, Pakistan military has provided airlift that rescued more than 23,000 people, and delivered food and supplies to hundreds of thousands. U.S.
“We continue to work very closely with the government of
, its civil and military leadership, on responding to the floods,” Ruggiero said. “And this is really just another example, our reaction and response to the floods, of the strategic nature of the relationship with Pakistan .” Pakistan