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Pakistan finalises strategy for talks with US
Publication Date : 16-10-2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met his top foreign policy and national security advisers on Tuesday to plan for his next week’s (Oct 23) meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington.
Sharif was given a detailed review of the talks offer made to Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, the country’s role in facilitating reconciliation process in Afghanistan and ties with India, a source said.
The meeting was described by the information ministry as a national security session meant to appraise “the overall security situation of the country”.
A diplomatic source revealed that Washington intended to shape its future relationship with Islamabad on the basis of latter’s approach towards Afghanistan, India and the region as a whole, in addition to its commitment to fighting terrorism at home.
“The relationship will be resourced accordingly,” a senior American diplomat told Dawn.
Cross-border terrorism and presence of terrorist sanctuaries in tribal areas is of prime concern to the United States and White House has already indicated to Pakistani officials that President Obama would be taking up the matter in his meeting with Mr Sharif.
“The prime minister will brief President Obama on his roadmap for reviving the economy and dealing with terrorism. We will share with the American side our perspective on the regional situation,” a participant of the meeting told Dawn.
Sharif wants economic cooperation to take centre stage in ties with the US through upgradation of trade links, instead of the relationship being driven by regional dynamics.
But the list of participants of the preparatory session Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Foreign Affairs and National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI director general Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam shows that strengthening of economic and trade ties is more of a wish and Mr Sharif knows well that its realisation will depend much on how the regional situation evolves.
The prime minister will, however, keep pushing for increasing trade and investment bonds. During his visit to the US, he will address a Business Council meeting that will be attended by top American entrepreneurs.
Drones, one of the major sticking points in the relationship, would also be taken up during talks at the White House, the source said, adding that the issue was discussed during the meeting.