WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to end drone strikes in Pakistan, touching on a sore subject just as relations between the two countries improve after years of suspicion over Afghanistan and the U.S. counterterrorism fight.
"I also brought up the issue of drones in our meeting, emphasizing the need to end ... such strikes," Sharif told reporters after meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.
Obama acknowledged tensions and "misunderstandings" between the two countries. He said the two leaders had pledged to work together on security issues in ways that "respect Pakistan's sovereignty."
"We committed to working together and making sure that rather than this being a source of tension between our two countries, this can be a source of strength for us working together," Obama said.
The United States has quietly restarted security assistance to Pakistan after freezing much of that aid during a period of strained relations following the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
For fiscal year 2014, which began on Oct. 1, Obama has requested $1.162 billion from Congress for Pakistan, including $857 million in civilian aid and $305 million in security assistance.
Much of U.S. security aid to Pakistan is intended to bolster the ability of its military to counter militants in semi-autonomous tribal areas.