U.S.-Pak strategic dialogue in Washington next week

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during their meeting in Islamabad. Both the countries would hold their third ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue here next week in Washington. File Photo  

The U.S. and Pakistan would hold their third ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue here next week, against the backdrop of America pushing Islamabad to act firmly against terrorist safe havens and step up relief efforts in the wake of the devastating floods in the country.

At the dialogue Spread over three days -- from October 20 to 22, -- the high-profile Pakistani delegation would be led by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and would include army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, while the U.S. delegation would be headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“In Washington next week, the third high-level meeting of the Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and the United States (will be held), an example of our ongoing, broad partnership with Pakistan,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said at his daily news conference.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi will be here along with Secretary Clinton to receive reports from the various working groups that will chart progress in the full range of issues that we have in our relationship with Pakistan. But one of those will be, obviously, to continue to assess Pakistan’s long-term needs given the flood of earlier this summer,” Mr. Crowley said.

Noting that the floods are the new reality, Daniel Feldman, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said everything will be seen through the prism of floods.

“But we also have such important policy work to be done in those committees, we didn’t want to turn it just into a floods meeting. So there will also be a separate floods meeting during the course of that Strategic Dialogue,” he told reporters early this week.

This will be the third ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue meeting this year, he noted. “We had the first one in the spring here in Washington, the second one in July in Islamabad, and then the third one here -- really almost unprecedented in the degree of high-level engagement and representation between the two countries,” he said.

“There will be a very, very strong Pakistani delegation, a number of ministers, and we will have many of our 13 working groups meeting next Wednesday and Thursday, co-chaired by U.S.’ either Secretaries or Undersecretaries and Pakistani ministers, and then culminating in the plenary on Friday,” he said.

The next round of the Strategic Dialogue is also being held against the backdrop of the Obama Administration asking Pakistan to take more concrete action against the al-Qaeda and Taliban safe havens in its restive tribal belt.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 1:30:12 PM |

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