| GEO Pakistan|
| Khalilzad says he made no mistake by contacting PPP|
| Updated at: 1313 PST, Thursday, September 04, 2008|
UNITED NATIONS: Confirming the contacts with Pakistan People Party, the US ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday said he has made no mistake in this regard.
Talking to media in New Yorki, Khalilzad said the contacts with PPP were not as many as reported in the media. These contacts were purely of social nature, he said.
A former US envoy to both Afghanistan and Iraq, he said he had for years maintained friendships and relationships with many people in the broader Middle East, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"These contacts and relationships have been useful for the United States but at the same time I am experienced enough to know the difference between being a channel with these friends on behalf of the United States and having social contacts particularly with regard to the Bhutto family," Khalilzad said.
He said he had had mostly "social contacts" with the Bhutto couple since Benazi, a former Pakistani prime minister, returned from exile to Pakistan in October 2007 and in the aftermath of her assassination two months later.
Noting these contacts were "perfectly natural", he insisted that he had reported them to US Secretary of State "and relevant officials" whenever policy issues had been raised. And he strenuously denied having acted as an advisor to Zardari.
According to the text of an email obtained by the newspaper, US assistant secretary of state Richard Boucher asked Khalilzad about the nature of his contacts after learning that Khalilzad sought to provide Zardari with "advice and help."
"Can I ask what sort of 'advice and help' you are providing?" the email said. "What sort of channel is this? Government, private, personal?"
Questioned about his phone contacts with Zardari, Khalilzad said he was experienced enough not to convey any advice on an open line on behalf of the United States.