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Pakistan says in serious talks with US on drone attacks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 26, IRNA -- Pakistan is in serious negotiations with the US over its drone aircraft attacks on the country’s tribal regions, the Information Minister said on Thursday.

The minister’s remarks came just few hours after a US drone fired missiles in South Wazirisan which killed at least seven people.

“Pakistan has told the US that the attacks are counterproductive and are increasing anti-American sentiments,” Information Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira told a press conference.

Officials say that the US has carried out over 30 drone attacks on the tribal regions since August last year to target the hideouts of the suspected militants.

Pakistan was expected the Obama administration will change the drone attacks policy but the new CIA chief said last month that the attacks would continue.

Analysts say that the new US administration will step up drone attacks in coming days as the US plans to send around 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan this year.

To a question about any possible step by the government to stop the US Drone attacks, Kaira said the government is holding talks with the US authorities on the issue.

Condemning the drone attacks, he said that US strikes are resulting in negative effects among the people.

He said the US attacks will not help in winning the war against terrorism.

“It can only be won by drawing a line between militants and peaceful locals and then introducing development programs in the tribal areas,” he said.

He said this is the wise way to fight war against terrorism.

To a question about a report about US plans to expand drone attacks to southwestern Balochistan province, he termed it is baseless and rumors.

US media reported this month that Obama administration plans to extend drone attacks to Balochistan as it believes that Afghan Taliban leaders are hiding in the area.

Kaira said he will only comment if an official statement was issued by US but no official statement has been made by the US yet regarding the drone attack in Balochistan.

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