Enhanced Pak-US engagement likely
WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan are poised to enhance their engagement to the leadership level to remove differences that have frayed relations since early 2011, official sources told Dawn.
Both governments are now busy planning Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit to Washington some time next month for a detailed discussion on various proposals for improving ties.
Both sides are also hoping that Ms Khar’s talks in Washington will lead to a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and US President Barack Obama in New York in late September, the sources said.
Mr Zardari is expected to arrive in New York on Sept 24 on a three-day visit to attend the UN General Assembly.
The sources say that the president is likely to come with a small delegation, including senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who specialise in US-Pakistan relations.
“Even if a meeting between the two presidents does not materialise, there will be leadership-level engagements between the two countries during the UN General Assembly,” said a senior official familiar with efforts to improve US-Pakistan relations.
Last month, Pakistan reopened key Nato supply lines to Afghanistan after the United States said ‘sorry’ to the country over a US air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Nov 26. Pakistan had closed the supply lines after the air raid.
“The reopening of supply lines provided an opportunity for rebuilding ties, now is the time for an engagement at a higher level,” said the senior official, who did not want to be identified.