US to give Pakistan one bln dlrs in aid

TOKYO, April 17, 2009 (AFP) – The United States will give Pakistan one billion dollars in aid over two years, the US envoy Richard Holbrooke announced Friday as an international donors’ conference opened in Tokyo.

Holbrooke “announced the United States’ intent to provide support to the government of Pakistan totalling one billion dollars over a two-year period (2009-2010)”, according to a statement by State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood.

Holbrooke, US President Barack Obama’s chief point man on both Afghanistan and Pakistan, was joining a one-day meeting of some 30 donor nations to raise what the World Bank hopes will be four to six billion dollars in aid pledges.

Japan has also pledged aid of up to one billion dollars over the next two years.

The statement said “the US assistance, which is subject to congressional approval, will support development and social safety net spending to meet Pakistan’s short-term needs,” as identified by the International Monetary Fund.

“This one billion dollars is a down payment on President Obama’s commitment to support a bipartisan bill in the US Congress, co-sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar, that authorises 1.5 billion dollars in

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