Pakistan, US ready to resume strategic dialogue
17 September, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discuss revival of strategic dialogue and mutual understanding on drone attacks, during a meeting in Washington this week.
Official sources told on Sunday that the two issues – resumption of the stalled strategic dialogue between the two countries and the drone strikes – were important for the two countries and would certainly be discussed.
Sources in the Pakistani Foreign Office said the issue of drone strikes would be discussed at the highest level with the US officials, adding that some understanding on the issue was also likely.
The US Embassy in Islamabad confirmed that talks on resumption of strategic dialogue would be held between Pakistani and US officials when Khar would be in Washington this week. The embassy's spokeswoman Rian Harris told, "Yes a group is already working on that and the discussions would be held in this connection with Pakistani officials in Washington."
Diplomatic sources said that work on resumption of the dialogue was almost complete but certain details are awaited.
The Foreign Office has already officially announced that Khar will pay an official visit to the United States from September 18-22.
She will later proceed to New York to join a delegation led by President Asif Ali Zardari to participate in the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly session.
In the Washington leg of the visit, the foreign minister will hold bilateral meetings with the US secretary of state, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Trade Representative Ron Krik and other senior officials.
The last round of the strategic dialogue between the two countries was held in October 2010 in Washington. But after that a number of incidents like the Raymond Davis issue, raid in Abbottabad, Salala attack, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, caused deterioration in the ties between the two countries.
This year after resumption of NATO supply, which was suspended after the Salala incident in November last year, there were rumours that the dialogue would resume soon.
Officials on both sides say the stalled process of dialogue would be restarted to make development on important civil and security areas, including economy and trade, energy, defence, security, strategic stability and non-proliferation, with law enforcement and counter-terrorism being on the top.