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Sharif meets US Secretary of State Kerry, talks counterterrorism

October 21, 2013 11:11 IST

Visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday met United States Secretary of State John Kerry and discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, the state department said.

"Secretary Kerry's meeting with the PM (Sharif) is their third in three months, and continued the robust dialogue on our shared goal of a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan," a statement issued by the state department said.

Sharif is in Washington on a four-day official visit to the US, and is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama on October 23. He is accompanied by a high-powered delegation that includes Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani.

Monday's discussions covered a broad range of domestic and regional issues including peace and security, counter-terrorism cooperation, collaboration on Pakistan's energy sector, increasing bilateral trade and investment and the common interest of a secure, stable Afghanistan, it said.

"Both sides agreed on the importance of our continued counterterrorism cooperation, and that extremism is countered in part by opportunities arising from greater economic stability.

"To that end, the US, Pakistan's largest trading partner, remains committed to an economic relationship increasingly based on trade and investment," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has requested the US Congress to resume the security assistance to Pakistan, which now stands at 305 million US dollars for fiscal year 2014, a drop of 35 per cent as compared to the 2012 fiscal.

The drop is because the administration has not asked for a renewal of temporary Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, which was started in the year 2009, a senior administration official said.

Image: US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the state department in Washington

Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Lalit K Jha
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