Moving forward: Pak-US strategic talks to open Jan 27

Sartaj Aziz will lead a high-level delegation to Washington.

Our Correspondent January 18, 2014
Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. PHOTO: REUTERS


Pakistan and the United States will hold ministerial-level strategic dialogue on January 27 in Washington to review their cooperation in various fields, the foreign ministry announced on Friday.

According to a statement issued here, the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, will lead his country’s delegation for ministerial-level dialogue with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

This will be the first such meeting between the two countries since 2010. The dialogue process had remained suspended for over three years due to a host of reasons, including tensions over the killing of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor and then the secret raid by US troops in Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden.

However, the two sides decided to revive the process in August last year during the visit of US Secretary of State Kerry to Islamabad.

Although members of the delegation have not been named, Sartaj Aziz is expected to be accompanied by senior cabinet members as well as military officials.

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The strategic dialogue, which was initiated by the Obama administration, was meant to dispel the impression in Pakistan that the US would leave the region ‘high and dry’ following their drawdown by the end of this year from Afghanistan.

“The ministerial meeting will review the progress achieved in the five working groups and discuss concrete proposals and opportunities for partnership in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation, including strategic stability, defence, energy, economic growth, law-enforcement and counter-terrorism,” said foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam.

She added the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue will also afford an opportunity to highlight the priorities of Islamabad for economic development, including expansion of trade and investment.

“It marks the commitment of both countries to strengthen Pakistan-US bilateral relations and advance shared interests. Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue provides a framework for discussions on a wide range of issues
of mutual interest and focus on enhancing cooperation on issues of mutual concern,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2014.


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