The United States has said it is committed to addressing challenges in its relationship with Pakistan to improve bilateral ties, with the State Department vowing to work with Islamabad as essential partner in the regions future. Welcoming Islamabads expression of willingness to rebuild bilateral ties ten days after the deadly Nato strikes claimed lives of two dozen Pakistani soldiers and plunged the relations into a new crisis- the US also saw a clear role for the South Asian country in stabilizing Afghanistan, despite its absence from Bonn conference. We also, of course, welcome Prime Minister Gilanis positive statements on the US-Pakistani relationship, Deputy Spokesman at the State Department, Mark Toner, said, commenting on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilanis indication that Islamabad would like to rebuild ties. The Pakistani leader also stressed the relationship should be reset newly on clearly defined parameters. The spokesman described the November 26 deaths of Pakistani soldiers in cross-border Nato strikes as a terrible tragedy. Theres an investigation underway, he noted. Weve been very clear all along that we, while expressing our deepest sympathies over this tragedy, are committed to this relationship and working to make it better at every level, Toner added. From the very moments after this tragedy, weve been clear that this is a relationship thats vital to US national security interests. Its vital to Pakistans national security interests. Its vital to the regions interests that we work together productively. And were committed to addressing the issues between us and moving forward. The spokesman avoided commenting directly on Pakistans decision to stay away from the Bonn conference but said it provided an opportunity to international partners to evaluate accomplishments in Afghanistan in the last decade and also look at some of the challenges that remain. Going forward, were looking to the Nato Summit in Chicago. In terms of Pakistans absence, weve been pretty clear that we wanted Pakistan to be a part of this conference. They made the decision, I believe, not to attend, but going forward, were certainly going to were going to work with Pakistan as an essential partner in that regions future. Toner also noted Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States face a shared threat from extremists operating in that region. And so of course, were always in discussion about how we can improve coordination. When pressed if the US accepted the premise that the US-Pakistan relationship needs a reset, Toner replied: I think I accept the premise that theres most recently, of course, the terrible tragedy of the Pakistani soldiers who were killed in the cross-border incident, that there have been significant challenges in this relationship but that were committed to working through them. On the subject of reconciliation in Afghanistan as a way forward, the spokesman said Washington supports an Afghan-led effort but also acknowledged Pakistans importance to that process. Weve also said that, obviously, Pakistan can play a role in that effort. In terms of Washington working to bring Pakistan and Afghanistan back into better coordination, he said, thats certainly one of the goals of the ongoing US investigation into the Nato raid. We want to ensure that such a terrible tragedy doesnt occur in the future. But more broadly, the goal of conferences like Istanbul is to, obviously, solidify and strengthen that kind of regional cooperation because I mean, certainly, Pakistan has a very clear role, but all of Afghanistans neighbors have an important role to play in Afghanistans future development. He said Secretary of State Hillary Clintons phone calls to Pakistani leaders since November 26 Nato attacks, were in part a recognition that this was a significant national tragedy for Pakistan and to, again, just convey one more time our sympathies, our condolences, and to express very clearly that the United States both respects Pakistans sovereignty, but its also very committed to making this relationship work.