Obama to visit Pakistan in 2011, not next month

US leader would not be stopping in Pakistan during his November trip to Asia.

Last Updated: Oct 21, 2010, 09:30 AM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama would travel to Pakistan next year but not make a stopover there during his November trip to Asia including India, the White House has said.

Obama conveyed this to a visiting delegation from Pakistan, who is here to participate in the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, it said in a statement.

The visiting Pakistani delegation was led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

"The President explained that he would not be stopping in Pakistan during his trip to Asia next month, and committed to visiting Pakistan in 2011, as well as welcoming (Pak) President (Asif Ali) Zardari to Washington," the White House said in a statement after the meeting.

The current round of the Strategic Dialogue, the third such meeting this year, concludes on Friday.

In his meeting with the Pakistani delegation, the White House said that Obama underlined the importance of the dialogue in moving US-Pak relationship toward a true partnership based on mutual respect and common interests.

"The President and the Pakistani delegation agreed on the need for regional stability, and specifically on the importance of cooperating toward a peaceful and stable outcome in Afghanistan," it said.

Earlier in the day, Obama held his monthly situation room meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan along with his key national security advisors.

"The President and his team then discussed our relationship with Pakistan in the context of this week`s Strategic Dialogue in Washington, including our security cooperation, the need to increase pressure on extremist safe-havens, our support for the Pakistani people and their democratic institutions, and our efforts to help Pakistan recover from the devastating floods," the White House said.

The meeting began with a discussion of America`s ongoing efforts to work with Pakistan and Afghanistan to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, including counter-terrorism operations that have killed or captured several al Qaeda leaders in recent months.

Obama and his team then discussed their ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, including recent developments related to the Afghan elections, economic development, local police initiative and Afghan President Hamid Karzai`s establishment of a High Peace Council to support Afghan-led reintegration and reconciliation.

"The President received a briefing on the security situation in Afghanistan, including our efforts to target Taliban leadership, our security operations around Kandahar, and our preparations for the NATO Summit in Lisbon," the White House added.

PTI