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Obama`s special Af-Pak envoy meets Sharif, Kayani

Last Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 20:57

Islamabad: Days ahead of a new government assuming office in Islamabad, the US Special Representative for Af-Pak on Thursday held talks with Pakistan`s top civilian and military leaders on developments in Afghanistan, regional situation and counter-terrorism objectives.

Ambassador James F Dobbins, who was recently appointed the US Special Representative, arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday with Lt Gen (retired) Doug Lute, Special Assistant to the US President.

He held meetings with Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The American envoy also spoke by phone with President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in the southern port city of Karachi.
Dobbins and Jilani discussed bilateral relations and the regional situation, including latest developments in Afghanistan.

"The two sides exchanged views on several actions to be taken in the realm of bilateral cooperation," said a brief statement from Pakistan`s Foreign Office without giving details.

Jilani briefed Dobbins on steps taken by Pakistan "for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and reiterated Pakistan`s commitment to remain positively engaged in supporting the peace process".

The two sides reaffirmed their "desire to work closely for consolidation of bilateral relations and partnership in all spheres of cooperation, including peace and stability in the region", the statement said.
A separate statement from the US Embassy said Dobbins, during his engagements, discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including "advancing shared counterterrorism objectives, increasing economic opportunity, strengthening civilian democracy and civil society, and supporting an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process".

This was Dobbins` first trip to Pakistan in his new capacity.

It was also the first high-level contact between Pakistani and American officials since the PML-N won the May 11 general election.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, set to take oath as premier on June 5, has pledged he will take steps to normalise relations with the US and take up sensitive topics like the drone attacks.

Dobbins congratulated the people of Pakistan on the "historic May 11 elections" and underscored the United States` commitment to work with the new democratically elected government to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.


First Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 18:33

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