Nawaz heads to US to meet Obama, Kerry

Published: October 19, 2013
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US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on August 1, 2013. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on August 1, 2013. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD / WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for his visit to the United States on Saturday and is due to stay there until October 23, Express News reported.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will hold talks with Nawaz on Sunday at the start of the highest level official Pakistani visit to the United States in several years.

The two men would meet before Kerry heads on a visit to Europe, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had told reporters on Friday.

Nawaz is also due to meet US President Barack Obama on Wednesday, October 23, for the highest level White House talks between the two countries since the start of the US administration in 2009, another US official said.

“It’s an opportunity to broaden and deepen the relationship that we’ve both been working very hard towards in the last few years,” the senior State Department official said.

Topping the agenda are likely to be counter-terrorism efforts and drone attacks, as well as concerns over the economy and energy supply.

Nawaz was elected in May, and Washington has praised his efforts to reduce tensions in South Asia.

Relations with the United States have also improved since they plunged to one of their lowest points in 2011 amid the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a US commando raid in Pakistan, as well as the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a US airstrike.

“There have been significant irritants which I think have reduced quite a bit over the course of the last year,” the US official said.

Washington needs Pakistan’s cooperation as it prepares to withdraw thousands of pieces of heavy equipment from Afghanistan ahead of the end of NATO combat operations at the end of 2014.

It is also looking to the government to try to help with reconciliation efforts between the Taliban and Afghan leaders.

The United States also wants the government to do more to crack down on militant havens. Pakistan, meanwhile, is chafing at continued US drone strikes against militants on its territory.

Drones are “part of a very comprehensive conversation we have on security across the board,” the US official said.

“As we talk about all these security issues that will be a key theme, not drones necessarily, but the security situation writ large.”

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Roan
    Oct 19, 2013 - 10:22AM

    This meeting is a waste of Nawaz’s time

    US is a has been superpower wash up

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Oct 19, 2013 - 10:34AM

    Surprisingly,before visit,this time no new term or high sounding words used by USA for fooling Pakistan’s leadership and Pakistanis.

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  • Feroz
    Oct 19, 2013 - 11:26AM

    This is PM Nawaz Sharif’s last chance to improve relations with the US before the draw down of US troops from Afghanistan starts in 2014. Once the US troops are gone, there could be a dramatic change in equations with the terror groups running wild and free. No doubt the last chance to neutralize terror groups when help is available, before they consume both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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  • vaticancity
    Oct 19, 2013 - 12:15PM

    @Feroz, agree, future is uncertain when it comes to Pakistan’s neighbor Afghanistan. Get a feeling more Afghanis will want to cross border into Pakistan as that is where the jobs, better lifestyle is compared to Afghanistan. And also more importantly those imbecile terrorists, which are a great menace to society, when will they go away only God knows. How about family planning too so people who can easily be brainwashed don’t clone or produce more like themselves.

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  • LOK
    Oct 19, 2013 - 12:22PM

    Mian Sb, why didn’t you meet him while you were there for General Assembly meeting a few weeks ago? You are making a special trip to meet Obama, this is a waste of public funds. I strongly urge CJP to take Suo Moto and make him pay for the visit from his own pocket.

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  • Gulkhaiz
    Oct 19, 2013 - 12:27PM

    What sort of people we have become? It seems as if we have lost the ability to see the things in proper perspective and positivity. The visit has not yet started and the commentators are predicting failure. The cynicism at its worst. People are justified in saying that we are our own worst enemies. We spit on our own faces, and when people laugh and scorn at us , we start howling that the whole world is against us.Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Oct 19, 2013 - 12:28PM

    I am sure he will be given evidence of his sponsored terrorism in neighbouring countries which he will deny and claim conspiracy.
    In his last misadventure in Kargil he was speechless when the then President Clinton gave him evidence of his deceits and lies. Good luck to him.

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  • Adnan Siddiqui
    Oct 19, 2013 - 2:40PM

    Obama Sir, Where are your feets. I want to kiss them in respect – NS

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  • unbelievable
    Oct 19, 2013 - 5:50PM

    There are no new issues – both sides know the position of each other – it’s unlikely the USA is going to change it’s position on drones or terrorism and I doubt the USA believes Sharif has enough power to change policies of Pakistan. It’s unfortunate since it’s likely that after 2014 Pakistan is going to have greater challenges and America may not be in a mood to provide any assistance.

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  • Raj - USA
    Oct 19, 2013 - 7:00PM

    Nawaz Sahib: It is a long flight, both ways. Please bring along with you a “Good Muslim Doctor”. For your return flight we shall send with you a “True Muslim Doctor”. Tension ki koi baat nahi. Amreka kush, aur Allah Ki Bandhe bhi kush.

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  • Pmahmud
    Oct 19, 2013 - 9:03PM

    Most of the people are unaware of shifting geopolitical compulsions and comment without understanding the real reasons for shifts. People are in for some shocking surprises from leader of sole super power. I would make a broad statement and that is that the efforts to recast the international relations starting in 1991 has failed and this meeting would set the tone for a different relationship. So wait for another week or two and then you will get to know some of it.

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  • Sameer
    Oct 20, 2013 - 8:28AM

    Pakistan is not in a position to talk. It can only listen. And US is going to tell what they expect from Pak as they withdraw from Afghanistan. Another thing is what they want to do with North Waziristan. They have been using drones to hit it with missiles but obviously they are not anywhere close to achieving their full goal of eliminating all talibans. So, they will want a solution providing closure on this. Other than that the issue of some money is there but that is nothing new nor complicated.

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