Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is expected to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to London, sources told The Express Tribune.
The expected meeting will be a positive sign for the two countries as both of them were keen to normalise relations, the source said.
Khar reached London on Monday for a three-day visit in which she will hold meetings with her British counterpart William Hague and other high officials. She will also brief the UK officials on the recently concluded trilateral conference involving, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Islamabad. Khar will also reportedly ask the British officials to influence the US to end drone strikes.
Meanwhile, official sources have revealed that diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the US are improving behind the scenes. It has been decided by Islamabad, Kabul and Washington to reactivate the trilateral conference between the three countries, the source claimed.
Khar and Clinton are expected to discuss Nato supplies to Afghanistan, among other issues.
The meetings could defuse tension, which was highlighted recently when Islamabad refused to host Marc Grossman, the US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, who wanted to visit Islamabad last month. The State Department had said that Grossman wanted to visit Pakistan but owing to the tense relations between the two countries, he was refused meetings. The State Department’s spokesman, while making this disagreement public, had said that the US wants better relations with Pakistan.
Officials in the ministry of foreign affairs expect Pak-US relations to be fully normalised by March. Pakistan has already softened its stance on Nato supplies to Afghanistan through Pakistan, as supplies through Pakistani airspace are fully open.
Islamabad, despite its tense relations with Washington, is facilitating US-Afghan Taliban talks in Qatar, the source said. “Pakistan had encouraged talks between Taliban and United States at the request of Washington. Apparently Pakistan has been sidelined by Washington in its talks with the Taliban but the actual situation is not as it appears,” the source added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2012.