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Pakistan to plead for US conventional weapons


Islamabad, Sept 7, IRNA -- Top Pakistan and American defence officials
will meet in Washington next week to discuss defence cooperation and 
to review Islamabad request for US conventional weapons, sources said 
The Pakistan-US Defence Consultative Group, which was revived last
year after Pakistan`s support to the US war against Taliban and 
al-Qaeda, will be holding its second meeting on September 27. 
The first meeting was held in September last year in which 
Pakistan had handed over a list for acquisition of arms to `acquire a 
balance in conventional capability vis-a-vis threat perception`. 
Pakistan Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz Khan will 
lead a 14-member team in the talks. 
The Defence Consultative Group will discuss issues relating to 
procurement of US equipment under the foreign military sales 
These included major weapons systems and related support for these
system, repair and up-gradation of existing systems, import of spares 
and resolution of outstanding issues. 
Since the revival of the group, special groups have bee set up 
which covered training, joint exercises and defence acquisitions by 
Pakistan including previous incomplete transactions when sanctions 
were imposed by the United States and remained incomplete. 
They will also discuss defence trade issues, which have now been 
resumed, besides reviewing financial assistance that the United States
is providing under security assistance and other financial assistance 
in recognition of Pakistan`s support to the coalition in Afghanistan 
and the expenditure incurred by it. 
The United States has already provided helicopters and other 
defence equipment to increase Pakistan`s capability on the western 
borders to check crossing of Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. 
Despite President Bush excluded supply of F-16 planes from the 3 
billion aid package for Pakistan, the Pakistani delegation has 
included the F-16 aircraft issue in the list, sources added. 
The Defence Consultative Group is also expected to discuss a 
Pakistani move to buy second-hand F-16 fighter jets from Belgium. 
Since the aircraft were built in the United States, Belgium needs 
US clearance for selling them to a third country. 
Pakistan has already asked Belgium to sell it 20 F-16 fighters 
Brussels plans to phase out. 

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