‘US seeks to establish intellectual strategic base with Gulf’


Holbrooke, who visited Gulf state countries early this month, said that the purpose of the trip was to discuss "our parallel strategic interests." He stopped in Oman, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar just few days after President Barack Obama stopped in Saudi Arabia.

"I can say with confidence that all of the states in the Gulf have a similar point of view on the strategic importance of Pakistan and there are long historic ties", said Holbrooke.

"We share a common point of view but there is not a coordination of policies at this point…but I am very gratified at the strategic symmetry between us", he added.

"I do not go to the Gulf to ask for money like everyone else has so often, they do not want us to come in and say where is the check I want to establish a dialogue of mutual respect with these countries… then policies and coordination will logically proceed in accordance with the individual views of each country", said Holbrooke.

"The important thing is that for the first time, the United States is having an extended serious strategic dialogue. So I did not go out there on a fundraising mission", he added.

US Special Envoy to the Middle East Process and Special Advisor on the Gulf and Southeast Asia Dennis Ross also visited Gulf countries in the past weeks.
Holbrooke said the purpose of all these trips is trying "to establish an intellectual strategic base".

Holbrooke just came back from a trip to Pakistan last week where he met with Pakistani Asaf Zardari and senior Pakistani officials and visited the Swat Valley to survey firsthand the situation on the ground where violence between Pakistani security forces and Taliban insurgents caused local citizens to flee the area and become internally displaced.

The highest priority is for these people to be able to return to their homes as quickly as possible, but I cannot stress this too highly, they need security to get back", he noted.

The US administration also committed last week around USD 200 million for refugee relief as an additional request to the Congress in the supplemental budget asked allies in the Gulf states and Europe to contribute to this effort.

"The US cannot bear this burden at this level, the reconstruction phase is going to cost just as much as the relief phase, this is a major crisis", said Holbrooke.

"Everyone recognizes that instability in Pakistan poses a threat to everywhere else", he concluded.


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