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US special envoy to visit Pakistan next week

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 16, IRNA -- Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, will pay 4-day visit to Pakistan from July 16, US embassy sources said on Thursday.

Holbrooke will participate in a Strategic Dialogue session to reinforce the close partnership between the United States and Pakistan, they said.

Sources said that US' Hillary Clinton will travel to Islamabad to lead experts in Strategic Dialogue. It will be the second ministerial-level discussions in less than five months.

Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi introduced the first ministerial-level discussions of the Strategic Dialogue in Washington in March.

Both sides have formed numerous strategic dialogue groups which have met recently to discuss such topics as water management, health, agriculture, education, economics and finance, access to markets, energy, science and technology, communications, women’s issues, law enforcement and defense.

Holbrooke will also attend a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan in Islamabad, a group aimed to extend support to Pakistan in its efforts to consolidate democracy in Pakistan and support social and economic development in the country.

The group was launched in New York on 26 September 2008 on the side lines of the United Nations General Assembly session.

The "Friends of Pakistan" groups Britain, France, Germany, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Italy plus the United Nations and the European Union.

Sources said that the US special envoy will also travel to Afghanistan on July 20, to attend the Kabul Conference, co-chaired by the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations. Hillary Clinton will lead the US delegation in the conference.

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