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US Secretary of State Kerry to visit Pakistan in June

Relations between the two countries have been strained since 2011, when a CIA contractor gunned down two Pakistani men in Lahore.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:June 14, 2013, 12:57 AM IST
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US Secretary of State Kerry to visit Pakistan in June
Relations between the two countries have been strained since 2011, when a CIA contractor gunned down two Pakistani men in Lahore.

Islamabad: US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Pakistan in June 2013, marking the first high-level contact between the two countries since the new government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office last week. This will also be Kerry's first visit to Islamabad since taking office. Shortly before Sharif was sworn in as premier, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins visited Pakistan for talks with the civilian and military leadership.

"US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive in the fourth week of this month. Final dates are being worked out," Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told a weekly news briefing. US officials had earlier said Kerry would visit Pakistan after Sharif s government assumed office. Sharif has retained the crucial foreign affairs portfolio and appointed former Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz as his advisor on foreign affairs and national security.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since 2011, when a CIA contractor gunned down two Pakistani men in Lahore and Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a unilateral American military raid in Abbottabad. The CIA's drone campaign targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda elements in Pakistan s tribal belt has also emerged as a key irritant in relations.

Sharif has said that the drone strikes should stop as they violate Pakistan s sovereignty and international law. However, Sharif has also said that his government will extend "full support" to the US as it withdraws its troops from neighbouring Afghanistan in 2014.

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