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Clinton due for Pakistanís ties revival push

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 20, IRNA -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad later on Thursday on a two-day visit for talks to revive normal relations hardly hit by recent US accusations of Pakistan links with militant groups.

Pakistan and the US indulged in verbal attacks after the last month attack on the US embassy in Kabul and the truck bomb blast at a main American military base in Afghanistan’s Maidan Wardak province.

Senior US military leaders claimed that Pakistan’s intelligence agency had supported the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in both attacks, the charges dismissed by Pakistan as irresponsible. The US says that Haqqani network operates from Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.

Secretary for Defence Leon Panetta had threatened military action against the Haqqani network and other Pakistan-based armed groups if Pakistan failed to take action.

Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told parliamentarians at a rare briefing on Thursday that it is up-to Pakistan if and when to launch military operation.

The relationship had also seen a decline after the US suspended in August $800 million military aid and also attached tough conditions to the future American assistance. General Kayani had told the MPs that the US cut off of aid will not affect the country’s defence capability.

Secretary Clinton, who landed in Kabul late Wednesday, will arrive in Islamabad later Thursday and is scheduled to meet Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

She will be accompanied by the new US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, Central Intelligence Agency Director David Patraeus and Under-Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy will join Secretary Clinton in Islamabad.

Section of US media has described Clinton’s visit as “a list-ditch effort” to salvage America’s partnership with Pakistan, which is key to stability in Afghanistan at a time when the US has started withdrawal of troops.

Pakistani sources said that leaders will raise the issue of the alleged bases of Pakistani Taliban from Afghanistan’s border region. The military said that leaders of Pakistani Taliban, who fled after military operations, have now established bases in Afghanistan and carry out attacks on border posts.

Sources said that the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, deadlocked after the last month assassination of Afghan peace envoy Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, will also come under discussion. Afghanistan had suspended peace process with Pakistan and also trilateral efforts involving Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30622068

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