Islamabad: Against the backdrop of mounting Pakistan-US tensions, President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday called for "clear terms of engagement" between the two countries for the war on terror so that "conflicting positions" did not impact bilateral relations.

Zardari made the remarks during a meeting with US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, at the presidency here.

Grossman arrived in Pakistan at a time when tensions triggered by the covert US raid that killed Osama bin Laden have spiked.

The President "underlined the need for clear terms of engagement that should be agreed upon beforehand between Pakistan and the United States in the war against militants so that conflicting positions and unilateral actions did not adversely impact on bilateral ties", presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

Zardari said in the absence of "well-defined and documented terms of engagements, wrong plugs may be pulled at the wrong times by any side" and this could undermine bilateral relations, Babar said.
   
The terms of engagement should be clearly defined and specified so that any dispute could be settled amicably through available institutions, Zardari said.

In the wake of the raid against bin Laden in May, Pakistan expelled dozens of American military trainers and took steps to counter a network of Pakistani and American operatives created by the CIA.

The US administration countered these moves by suspending military aid worth USD 800 million for Pakistan.

In the past few days, the US has protested curbs imposed on the movements of its diplomats and officials within Pakistan. During their meeting Zardari and Grossman discussed Pakistan-US relations, the war against militants and the regional situation with special reference to Afghanistan.

Zardari emphasized that a "long-term, sustainable and multi-dimensional relationship with the US should be based on mutual interest, trust and mutual respect".

Referring to the war against terror, Zardari underlined Pakistan's "resolve to continue its struggle till its logical end".

He said that it was in Pakistan’s interest to fight militancy and to "rid our land of extremists and militants".

Pakistan has made "unparalleled sacrifices in this struggle and was determined to continue this fight till its logical conclusion", Zardari was quoted as saying by his spokesman.

A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of peace and stability in Pakistan, Zardari said.

"Therefore, Pakistan would assist in all efforts intended to bring peace, stability and development to Afghanistan," he said.

The President reiterated his call to the world community to take effective steps to end all avenues of funding for militants and their activities.

Grossman said the US is open to suggestions made by the President.

US Ambassador Cameron Munter, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir attended the meeting.

(Agencies)