Pakistan, US to review strategic dialogue process

Islamabad, Jan 9 : Pakistan and the US have agreed to review their strategic dialogue process, Pakistan's foreign ministry said Thursday.

Foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said at a weekly news briefing here that the dates for the meeting are being discussed and the review might take place in Washington, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Sartaj Aziz, advisor to the prime minister on foreign affairs and national security, and US Secretary of State John Kerry will co-chair the strategic review meeting, Aslam said.

Responding to a question, Aslam said there was no confirmation of the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April this year.

She said an invitation has been issued, which was accepted, but there was no confirmation about the visit.

On the revival of the composite dialogue process between Pakistan and India, Aslam said Pakistan has emphasised on its early resumption. She said India was heading towards elections and it was not known if the process could resume before the polls.

The spokesperson said there were five working groups for cooperation in different sectors and three of them have already met. She said two groups on counter-terrorism and defence are yet to meet.

In a meeting in Washington in October 2013, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Barrack Obama agreed on restarting a fresh round of the ministerial-level strategic dialogue.

The strategic priorities for the five working groups include law enforcement and counter-terrorism, economics and finance, energy, security, strategic stability, and non-proliferation and the defence consultative group.

The last session of the strategic dialogue was held in 2010 but the process was stopped due to tension in the relationship over several issues, including the unilateral US military raid that killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

--IANS (Posted on 09-01-2014)

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