WASHINGTON – The United States and Pakistan have ruled out "divorce" as they work to rebuild trust in their troubled relationship, stressing its importance to both countries.

“From our perspective, divorce is not an option with Pakistan. We have a strategic interest in common. We have a lot of work to do together,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told the daily press briefing on Wednesday.

She was asked to comment on Pakistani ambassador Sherry Rehman's first speech before an American audience earlier in the day calling for "more consistent, stable and transparent equation" between the two countries while avoiding divorce.

“We have a national interest in Pakistan that is increasingly stable, peaceful, free of terror, democratic etc.” Nuland added.

Ambassador Rehman told a select audience of political pundits and journalists at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a Washington-based think-tank, that relations between Washington and Islamabad are “burdened by too many expectations” and have become overly emotional.

“The marriage metaphor, for instance, never seems to go away, with its implicit embrace of love and hate, life, death, and divorce, which we seek to assiduously avoid,” Rehman said.

“Given the state of strategic flux our region faces, at a time of unprecedented challenges and the responsibilities such transitions bring with it, this is too important and too sensitive a relationship to carry this volume and scale of unregulated hyperbole,” the Pakistani envoy said.

Responding to Rehman's comments, Nuland said, "We are continuing to do a lot of work together and we are looking forward to the completion of Pakistan’s internal review of our military to military relationship so we can get back to all the important work we have together.”

Pakistan is reviewing its cooperation with Washington after a deadly cross-border incident on Nov. 26 in which U.S.-led NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Since then, Pakistan has closed critical NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.

“We do have a full spectrum review ending soon, which will roadmap the terms of our renewed cooperation. And that we hope will be very soon,” the ambassador said.

Calling for a “re-set” in the bilateral equation, Rehman said, “The [Nov. 26] tragedy at Mohmand really served as an end-line trigger that called for a fundamental re-set.”

But she made it clear that “In the absence of an immediate apology, this did cause the Pakistan street to erupt with questions about the egregious asymmetry in the calculus of comparative sacrifice between our two nations in terms of blood and treasure.

“It was indeed shocking for the Pakistani nation to see the flag-draped bodies of 24 soldiers martyred in the line of active duty on the international border with Afghanistan, at the hands of our allies,” the ambassador said.

With obviously the Abbottabad operation in mind, Rehman said, “For Pakistanis, the notion of territorial sovereignty dominates public space today in important ways, simply because the symbol of its subversion is so repeatedly and unfortunately associated with the United States’ growing footprint in Pakistan.

“Make no mistake, to us terrorists represent as much a breach of our sovereignty as state-sponsored unilateralism of any kind.”

Referring to tensions between state institutions, Rehman said, “After long non-democratic interludes, all institutions of government are seeking a difficult but crucial equilibrium. We see this as a pivotal and often painful transition to sustainable democracy, where the civilian government stands committed to the rule of law and respect for the court.

“The good news is that many of us on both sides think it is time that this relationship matured into a more consistent, stable, and transparent equation with weight given to more respect.”

“But once again, that would be a subject best reserved right now for our parliament to decide.”