Pakistan summons US diplomats hours after suspected drone strike

2013-06-09T00:00:00Z Pakistan summons US diplomats hours after suspected drone strikeTim Craig and Haq Nawaz Khan The Washington Post. Arizona Daily Star

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif summoned U.S. Embassy officials Saturday to formally protest continued drone strikes on Pakistani soil, just hours after a suspected missile attack killed seven people in a tribal area in the country's northwest.

According to Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry, the newly installed premier requested that the U.S. Embassy's charge d'affaires, Richard E. Hoagland, meet with Pakistan's minister of state for foreign affairs, Tariq Fatemi.

"It was conveyed to the US that the Government of Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes which are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the ministry said in a statement. "The importance of bringing an immediate end to the drone strikes was emphasized."

U.S. Embassy officials confirmed the meeting but otherwise declined to comment.

In its statement, the Foreign Ministry said Fatemi told Hoagland that continued U.S. strikes will "have a negative impact" on the two countries' ability to resolve broader problems in the region.

Pakistani security officials said two missiles from a suspected U.S. drone were fired shortly after sunset Friday on a compound near Shawal in North Waziristan, not far from the country's border with Afghanistan.

On Saturday, it was still not clear who was targeted in the strike, though Taliban leaders and fighters from both Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as other militant groups, are believed to operate in that area.

U.S. strikes on Pakistani soil have been on the decline, but President Obama said last month that attacks would continue against targets that pose a "continuing, imminent threat" to the United States as long as there is "near-certainty" that civilian casualties could be avoided.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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