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US envoy discusses US-Pak strategic dialogue

04 December, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador James F Dobbins, Tuesday discussed a number of elements of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue with Pakistani leaders.

According to the US embassy, Dobbins met with Adviser to the Prime Minister for Foreign Policy and National Security Sartaj Aziz and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, among other officials. "Dobbins' visit is a continuation of our bilateral engagement with Pakistan as the United States remains committed to fostering peace, security, and economic growth in the region," the US embassy said in a statement.

Dobbins also discussed a number of elements of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, which was re-energised during the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to Pakistan in August and reaffirmed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Obama in October 2013.

Three working groups under this strategic dialogue have met to date: The Energy Working Group met in Washington, DC on November 12; the Defence Consultative Group met in Washington, DC on November 21-22, and the Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation Working Group met in Islamabad on November 21, 2013.

The Economics and Finance and the Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism working groups are expected to meet in the coming months, culminating in a Strategic Dialogue Ministerial meeting in early 2014. According to Foreign Office, Ambassador James F Dobbins called on Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday. During the meeting, the two sides discussed Pakistan-US bilateral relations and regional issues of common interest.

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani was also present in the meeting. Dobbins was accompanied by US Ambassador Richard Olson.

In the context of Afghanistan, developments relating to the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and matters pertaining to 2014 and beyond were discussed. The importance of accelerated progress in the Afghan reconciliation process was emphasised.

The adviser also raised with Ambassador Dobbins the issue of drone attacks, underscoring their counter-productive effect, and reiterated the call to the US to review its policy which has a negative impact on the government's efforts to bring peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.

As regards Pakistan-US relations, the adviser underlined the need for early convening of US-Pakistan Working Groups on Law Enforcement and Counter Terrorism and Economy and Finance before the next round of Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue, which is expected in March 2014.

End.

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