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'US Secy of State Kerry to visit Pakistan in next 2 days'

Islamabad, PTI | Updated : 27 July 2013, 05:10 PM

With Secretary of State John Kerry set to visit Pakistan in the next two days, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif committed himself to cooperative ties with the US and all initiatives to promote peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

Sharif made the remarks during a meeting with US Ambassador Richard Olson in advance of the trip by Kerry, who is "likely to visit Pakistan in the coming two days", said a statement from the premier's office.

The premier told Olson of "his commitment to a strong and cooperative relationship with the US". Sharif reiterated Pakistan's "full commitment to all initiatives designed to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan".

Sharif said he looked forward to receiving Kerry and sharing views on bilateral ties. He said he would "share a vision of bilateral relations in the future".

The premier also briefed the US envoy of the recent visit to Kabul by his Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz.

Aziz handed over Sharif's formal invitation to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to visit Pakistan for a summit-level meeting.

Pakistan's Foreign Office described Aziz's interactions with his Afghan interlocutors as "warm and cordial" but Kabul subsequently announced Karzai would visit Islamabad only if there is a specified agenda for talks, including a "serious and effective campaign against terrorism".

Ambassador Olson told the Prime Minister about "US priorities" related to Kerry's visit and briefed him on bilateral relations and the regional situation.

Kerry was originally scheduled to travel to Pakistan last month but deferred his visit because of the worsening crisis in Syria. He will be the senior most US official to visit Pakistan since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as Prime Minister after the May 11 general election.

The US is looking to Pakistan to play a key role in the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan in 2014 but the two sides have been unable to reach common ground on involving the Afghan Taliban in peace negotiations.

First Published: Saturday, July 27, 2013 05:09 PM
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