Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will soon visit Washington in an effort to chalk out a ‘clear-cut’ deal on the relationship between the two countries, a Pakistani diplomat posted in Washington told The Express Tribune.
This will be the first visit by a senior Pakistani official to Washington since the lifting of the seven-month long blockade of the Nato transit routes.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had invited Khar during a meeting on the fringes of the recent Afghan conference in Tokyo, the official said. “The foreign minister accepted the invitation and dates of the visit are being finalised.”
Khar will meet with key US officials, including Clinton, to thrash out details of an agreement for future cooperation between the two allies.
An agreement on Nato routes will be one of the key issues, the official said, adding that a ‘clear-cut’ deal would be chalked out “covering each and every aspect of bilateral relations”.
Despite Washington’s initial reluctance, Islamabad is believed to have convinced the Obama administration of entering into a written agreement identifying not only areas of cooperation, but also ‘no-go’ areas.
“There are several bilateral issues which need immediate attention,” said another Pakistani official requesting anonymity. He added: “Islamabad was keen to revive the stalled strategic dialogue to ensure that Pak-US ties are not merely confined to security cooperation.”
The strategic dialogue, which covers a wide range of issues from Pakistan’s energy needs to its health and education sectors, was initiated by the Obama administration.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2012.
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