Pakistan, US to hold strategic dialogue this month

Islamabad, Feb 17 (IANS) Pakistan and the US will hold strategic dialogue in Washington later this month on security, anti-terrorism and economic cooperation, officials said on Wednesday.

It will be the 6th “Ministerial level Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue” since the dialogue process began in 2010. The fifth session was held in Islamabad in January last year.

Pakistan’s top Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and US Secretary of State John Kerry will lead their respective sides on February 29, the Foreign Ministry said.

A Foreign Ministry statement said the six segments of the dialogue — cooperation in Economy and Finance, Energy, Education, Science and Technology, Law Enforcement and Counter Terrorism, Security, Strategic Stability and Non-Proliferation and Defence — will come up for discussion.

“The upcoming meeting will afford an important opportunity to take stock of the entire gamut of Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the US,” the statement said.

The talks were disrupted in 2011 when the US forces conducted a unilateral raid to kill the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad. The process was restored in 2014.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US in October 2015 provided necessary impetus and direction to the dialogue mechanism, the Foreign Ministry said. It would be third meeting since Sharif assumed office in 2013.

Both countries will hold the dialogue weeks ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Sharif to Washington. President Barrack Obama has invited the prime minister to attend a nuclear summit, officials said.

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