The United States and Pakistan have a “strong” relationship, despite ongoing challenges between the two countries, according to a spokesman for the U.S. State Department.

“We have… strong relations with our Pakistani counterparts, we work through issues when they arise,” said State Department spokesman Marc Toner to reporters.

Since the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden in a compound near Abbottabad in northern Pakistan, there has been “an intensity of engagement that illustrates our commitment to working through these issues,” Toner said, adding, “we’ve been upfront about challenges in the relationship but we’ve been also consistent in saying Pakistan and US need each other.
Toner added that Washington and Islamabad “need to work through these challenges because it’s in both of our long term and short term interest to do so.”

Toner added that US financial assistance to Pakistan benefitted both countries, and that Washington is committed to fighting terrorism with the help of Islamabad officials.

“We believe that assistance is important in our national security interests and obviously in Pakistan’s security interests to provide that kind of support so that Pakistan becomes a prosperous, democratic nation, or a more prosperous, democratic nation,” he said.

However, Toner refused to comment on media reports that the Pakistani government had arrested five CIA informants, including an army major, whose help allegedly helped the U.S. find and kill terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.