US-Pak Strategic Dialogue in Washington next week

The US and Pakistan would hold their third ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue next week.

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2010, 13:30 PM IST

Washington: The US 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 US 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,"
Crowley said.

Noting that the floods is 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 US`
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.

PTI