May 16 - U.S. Senator John Kerry seeks to mend Washington's fragile ties with Islamabad after U.S. forces killed bin Laden -- but offers no apology. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A relationship under strain. Demonstrators take to the streets over the weekend in Pakistan decrying the United States -- outraged over US forces storming the compound hiding Osama bin Laden in their soil. On May 2, U.S. special forces flew in from Afghanistan on a secret operation to find and kill the al Qaeda leader nearly 10 years after he orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. The discovery of bin Laden's hideout in the comfortable garrison town of Abbottabad, only 30 miles from the Pakistani capital, revived suspicion that the U.S. ally knew where he was and had been playing a double game. Pakistan has rejected that talk saying it welcomed bin Laden's killing as a big step in the fight against militancy -- but objected to being left in the dark over the raid to get him. Against this backdrop, U.S. Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee arrives in Islamabad. He met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari i, in a meeting also attended by army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik Kerry spokes to reporters after the meetings. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Senator John Kerry, saying (English): "I expressed as clearly as possible grave concerns in the United States over Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan and the continuing existence here of sanctuaries for our adversaries in Afghanistan. And I emphasized to my Pakistani friends that many in congress are raising tough questions about our ongoing assistance to the government of Pakistan in light of the events of the past weeks. He offered no apologies SOUNDBITE: U.S. Senator John Kerry, saying (English): "My goal in coming here was not to apologies for what I consider to be a triumph against terrorism with unprecedented consequences. My goal has been to talk with the leaders here about how to manage this critical relationship more effectively; about how to open up opportunities to put this relationship back on track where isolated episodes --no matter how profound - don't jeopardize the larger relationship and the larger goal. I'm very pleased to say that these meetings have in fact re-opened the dialogue between our countries." Kerry said a series of steps would be taken to rebuild trust, including a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.