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|July 17, 1998||
Islamabad looks to Talbott's visit with hope
The two-day visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to Pakistan, beginning on July 22, is apparently very crucial following the US senate's nod to the Clinton administration on waiving the economic sanctions against Pakistan and India.
Islamabad welcomes Talbott's visit as a positive step, expecting a complete waiver on all economic sanctions. A foreign ministry spokesman said a co-operative approach is always better than a coercive approach.
The US deputy secretary will begin his visit to South Asia this weekend. Before reaching Islamabad, Talbott will hold discussions with the representatives of the Indian government in New Delhi on July 20 and 21. During his meeting with Pakistani officials, he would spell out Washington's stance on various issues harping on non-proliferation objectives.
The Pakistani officials will apprise Talbott about the rationale behind their nuclear testing.
The issue of the IMF holding back $ 226 million ESAF tranche to Pakistan will also figure in the discussions.
Meanwhile, the cabinet defence committee under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief extensively reviewed the current defence and economy related matters.
The committee also discussed the Afghan situation and contacts with Iran.
In a related development, Sharief would proceed today with his two-day unscheduled visit to China to consult the Chinese leaders on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Sharief had already paid similar visits to the Gulf countries in the recent past, besides sending special delegations to several countries.
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