U.S., Pakistan set to resume high-level talks
ISLAMABAD – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz, said Thursday the two countries will resume high-level negotiations on security issues, and Kerry suggested that disputed drone strikes could end soon.
Kerry also said he had invited Pakistan’s newly elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to come to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama.
Kerry said the talks will cover “all of the key issues between us, from border management to counterterrorism to promoting U.S. private investment and to Pakistan’s own journey to economic revitalization.”
Kerry told Pakistani TV that the U.S. would end strikes on Pakistan in the near future.
“I believe that we’re on a good track. I think the program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it,” Kerry said.
“I think the president has a very real timeline, and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon.”
The comments reflected similar statements Obama made in his foreign policy speech at the National Defense University earlier this year.
The U.S. and Pakistan launched high-level talks on a wide swath of security and development programs in 2010. But the talks stalled in November 2011 after U.S. airstrikes on a Pakistani post on the Afghan border accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Even before that, the bilateral relationship was severely damaged by a variety of incidents, including a CIA contractor shooting to death two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore and the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistani town of Abbottabad.
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