ISLAMABAD - Pakistan desires to seek a new framework of cooperation with the United Sates after 2014, a timeline for the US troops to pull out from the neighbouring Afghanistan, sources said on Wednesday. “The new democratic dispensation in the country has decided in principle that Pakistan will stop cooperation with the United States in a manner it used to,” a senior Pakistani diplomat told The Nation.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that the estranged erstwhile partners would discuss the proposals for a new framework of cooperation when they resume ministerial level strategic dialogue in Washington on January 27. Prime Minister Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and the US Secretary of State John Kerry would lead crucial talks to review progress of five Working Groups following the three years of stalemate.
This will be the first such meeting between the two countries since 2010. The dialogue process had remained suspended for over three years due to a host of reasons, including tensions over the killing of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor and then the secret raid by US troops in Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden.
However, the two sides decided to revive the process in August last year during the visit of US Secretary of State Kerry to Islamabad. The strategic dialogue, which was initiated by the Obama administration, was meant to dispel the impression in Pakistan that the US would leave the region ‘high and dry’ following their drawdown by the end of this year from Afghanistan.
The ministerial meeting will review the progress achieved in the five working groups and discuss concrete proposals and opportunities for partnership in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation, including strategic stability, defence, energy, economic growth, law-enforcement and counter-terrorism.
Pakistani diplomats believed that Pakistan-US strategic dialogue would also afford an opportunity to highlight the priorities of Islamabad for economic development, including expansion of trade and investment.
Welcoming resumption of strategic dialogue process they said it marks the commitment of both countries to strengthen Pakistan-US bilateral relations and advance shared interests.
They were of the view that Strategic Dialogue provides a framework for discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest and focus on enhancing cooperation on issues of mutual concern.