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United States not considering sanctions on Pakistan, assures State Department

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ISLAMABAD: The US State Department on Tuesday clarified that it was by no means considering the option of putting sanctions on Pakistan, however, it wanted Pakistan to go after all the terrorist groups that are operating or seeking safe haven on its soil.
According to the transcript of press briefing released by US State Department, Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said United Stated was holding “conversations with the highest level of the Government of Pakistan”.
When Toner was asked whether the US was considering putting some sanctions on Pakistan or not, Toner replied saying “No. We are working with Pakistan”.
“Our basic point in all of these conversations is that Pakistan must target all militant groups, including those that target Pakistan’s neighbours, and eliminate all safe havens,” read the statement.
The US said it was 'encouraged' by Pakistan's recent counter-terrorism efforts along the shared border with Afghanistan and will continue to work with it to pressure terrorist groups.
Pakistani authorities have assured the US of their intentions to combat terrorism, Toner said.
He said the US was encouraged by these steps and would continue to work with Pakistan to ramp up action and apply more pressure against terrorist groups.
Toner said there had been very frank conversation with Pakistani authorities about the need to focus more efforts on terrorist groups that were "operating from within Pakistani soil".
"We continue to have that discussion with them. We have seen some efforts to make progress in that regard. We're going to continue to have those conversations with them as we move forward," he said, adding that it was both Pakistan and Afghanistan's interest to go after such terrorist groups and destroy them.
"The ultimate goal is we want to see peace and stability in the region, and so that's going to involve efforts on Pakistan's part." He added that the Afghan government should provide stability and security to its own people.
When asked whether the US was looking at any punitive measures over the issue of pursuing all terrorist groups, Toner said "No."
The US is working with Pakistan to stress the need for targeting all terrorist groups, he said. "We've seen progress, but we need to see more."
Asked about US efforts to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice, the spokesman said the US wanted to see accountability and justice in the case as American citizens also lost their lives in those terrible attacks.
"We've long encouraged and pushed for greater counter-terrorism cooperation, and that includes the sharing of intelligence between India and Pakistan in that regard. That continues, those efforts continue," the spokesman said.
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