U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will visit Pakistan for “strategic” talks, although no date has yet been established.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Clinton “does plan to visit to have an in-depth strategic discussion,” adding that she will journey there when she “can have those discussions in the right context and with the right preparedness.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator John Kerry, who is already in Pakistan on a mission to try to heal relations between Washington and Islamabad, said both countries “strategic partners with a common enemy.”
Relations between the two countries have sunk to an all-time low in the aftermath of the killing of the most wanted terrorist in the world, Osama bin Laden, in a military compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, not for from the capital.
U.S. officials are pressuring Pakistani authorities to reveal what they knew about bin Laden’s presence in the country, amidst swirling suspicions that the Pakistani intelligence service were actively harboring bin Laden.
Kerry said he has had “constructive conversations” Pakistan’s rulers, but added that there remain “grave concerns” over bin Laden’s terror chief in Pakistan.
“More importantly I explained that I am here with the backing of President [Barack] Obama, [US] ambassador [to Pakistan Cameron] Munter and their team to find a way to rebuild the trust between our two countries,” he said.
“We must never lose sight of this essential fact. We are strategic partners with a common enemy in terrorism and extremism. Both of our countries have sacrificed… so much that it just wouldn’t make sense to see this relationship broken or abandoned.”
Kerry added that Pakistan had “recommitted to find more ways to work against the common threat of terrorism” and to “defeat the enemies that we face”.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s office released the following statement after his Meeting with Kerry: “It was the need of the hour that Pakistan and US should rebuild the trust and confidence between their governments and institutions.”