The United States and Pakistan are to resume high-level talks on strategic issues, including security, that have been stalled for almost three years, top diplomats from both sides said on Thursday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the so-called “strategic dialogue” would be revived in six months.
“What was important today was the determination from the United States and Pakistan to move this relationship to full partnership,” he said.
Mr. Kerry was speaking to reporters after meetings with Pakistani political and military leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the military chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
The talks were aimed at improving strained U.S. ties with Islamabad, ahead of a planned withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s national security adviser, Sartaj Aziz, said Islamabad was ready to assist in the withdrawal of international forces, which have been fighting in Afghanistan for more than a decade.
The move is seen as indicating a significant improvement in relations between the two countries.
The strategic dialogue was suspended after an alleged CIA contractor, Raymond Allen Davis, shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore in January 2011.
Mr. Aziz said Islamabad had demanded an end to the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal areas, near the Afghan border, to hunt down high profile al-Qaeda and Taliban figures, because they are “counter productive” and a “violation of our sovereignty.” But Mr. Kerry appeared to reject the demand.
“I know there are issues of sovereignty that are raised. I would simply remind all of our friends that somebody like al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is violating the sovereignty of this country,” he said.