U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Pakistan Friday in attempt to restore sullied relations following the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden last month.
Clinton was joined in Islamabad by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff - the two most senior American officials to visit Pakistan since the May 2 raid - to deliver a two-pronged message: The United States wants to smooth over differences caused by the bin Laden operation - one that was kept secret from Pakistan's top Army and intelligence. She also reiterated the importance of the United States and Pakistan working together for security.
Clinton and Mullen first met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari before sitting down with military chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
She told President Zadari that the U.S. maintains very strong support for the relationship and our commitment to working with and supporting Pakistan, The Associated Press reported.
The duo also delivered, again, the stern warning lower-ranking U.S. officials have been making to Pakistan since the bin Laden raid: If Pakistan is seen playing both sides, the billions of dollars in military and development aid will decline.
The secretary of state's trip had been kept secret for security reasons and was scheduled to last less than six hours, the Wall Street Journal reported.
I believe strongly it is in our national-security interests to have a comprehensive, long-term partnership with the government and people of Pakistan, Clinton told reporters in Paris Wednesday. As you know, we've been building that partnership through a series of ongoing high-level engagements. We will be working through these near-term challenges.
She also said there is no evidence senior people in Pakistan knew that Obama was so close.