US waives legal requirements for USD 2 bn aid to Pak
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Notwithstanding Pakistan's reluctance to act on its demand to rein in the dreaded Haqqani network, the US has waived the necessary legal requirements for this year's USD 2 billion security and civilian aid to Islamabad, arguing that it was in America's national interest.
"Secretary (of State) Hillary Clinton has decided to exercise her authority to waive in FY 2012 certification requirements on certain civilian and security assistance to Pakistan," a State Department official said.
Clinton has determined that such assistance "is in the US national security interest," the official said.
"It is a critical component of US efforts to continue to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan grounded in concrete action on areas of shared interest.
"Continuation of civilian assistance remains an important tool to further our objective of cooperating with Pakistan to build more capable civilian state institutions, foster economic growth, and improve the lives of ordinary Pakistanis through better health and education opportunities," the official said justifying the decision.
Despite recent challenges with Pakistan, the US is encouraged by recent "positive engagement", including meetings in Washington and on the margins of the UN General Assembly and Pakistan's participation in recent Core Group meetings with Afghanistan, the State Department official said speaking on condition on anonymity.
"We believe we should continue building on these steps and that our civilian and security assistance is a critical component of this effort," the official said.
The Obama administration has repeatedly asked Islamabad to break links between its security services and the Haqqani network, and take firm steps to rein in the Taliban-linked terror outfit to prevent it from carrying out attacks from the safe havens in Pakistan's tribal belt on coalition forces based in Afghanistan.
According to the latest report of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in mid-August 2012, the State Department quietly notified Congress of its intention to cite US national security provisions in waiving two certification requirements that placed conditions on US assistance to Pakistan.
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