Efforts to mend U.S.-Pakistani relationship continue
December 2nd, 2012
10:33 PM ET

Efforts to mend U.S.-Pakistani relationship continue

Editor's note: CNN's Jill Dougherty is traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Europe. Dougherty filed this report from Prague.

By Jill Dougherty

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Pakistan's foreign minister and the army chief of staff Monday on the sidelines of a NATO summit to review where U.S.-Pakistani relations stand, a senior State Department official said.

Clinton's scheduled meeting in Brussels with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is latest in a series of talks this year aimed at repairing the bilateral relationship that was badly strained in 2011 following a raid by U.S. commandos on Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

"Obviously, if you sort of step back a little bit, for us, 2011 was as hard a year in U.S.-Pakistan relations as you can imagine," the official said.

"And so we tried in 2012 to sort of get back into some sensible business with them. Our philosophy has been that it ought to be possible between Pakistan and the United States to systematically identify our shared interests and act on them jointly."

This year, the United States has tried to improve relations between the two countries by focusing on counterterrorism cooperation, Afghanistan's future and improving market access and trade - not aid - with a bilateral investment treaty, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as a matter of practice.

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U.S. official: Turkey Patriot request not a prelude to Syria no-fly zone
Smoke rises after shells landed in October in Akcakale, a town in southeastern Turkey's Urfa province.
December 2nd, 2012
09:18 PM ET

U.S. official: Turkey Patriot request not a prelude to Syria no-fly zone

Editor's note: CNN's Jill Dougherty is traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Europe. Dougherty filed this report from Prague.

By Jill Dougherty

A senior administration official traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Europe ruled out any discussion at the upcoming NATO conference of the potential use of U.S. Patriot missiles in Turkey to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.

"A no-fly zone is not on the agenda for any NATO talks this week," the official told reporters aboard Clinton's plane.

"Patriot missiles, if they're deployed, would be deployed to protect Turkish airspace," the official said. "Turkey is a NATO ally and if a plane or missile crossed into Turkish airspace, these assets would be there to defend territory and airspace."

"We have said we're always prepared to look at ways in which we can help the people of Syria," the official added. "NATO has not decided to implement the no-fly zone but that's a separate discussion."

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Filed under: Assad • NATO • Syria • Turkey
Official: 'Worrying signs' regarding Syria's chemical weapons
A Syrian demonstrator shouts during an anti-regime protest in Aleppo.
December 2nd, 2012
09:07 PM ET

Official: 'Worrying signs' regarding Syria's chemical weapons

By Barbara Starr

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Monday the United States was prepared to act if Syria used chemical arms as new concerns surfaced about those weapons, although Syria said it had no intention of using them on its own people.

Speaking after meetings in Prague, Clinton reiterated that such a move by the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad would cross a red line previously drawn by President Barack Obama

"I'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur," Clinton told reporters.

"There is no doubt that there is a line between even the horrors that they have already inflicted on the Syrian people and moving to what would be an internationally condemned step of utilizing their chemical weapons."

Clinton met with the Czech foreign minister and discussed the concerns, she said after the meeting. Clinton said the Czech Republic has extensive expertise with chemical and biological weapons. FULL POST

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Filed under: Assad • Intelligence • Syria • weapons