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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan army chief leaves for US strategic dialogue

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 20, IRNA -- Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani left for Washington to meet US defence leaders and to take part a three-day strategic dialogue, the military said Tuesday.

Pakistan and the United States will begin the Ministerial-Level Strategic Dialogue on Wednesday to discuss wide-ranging of issues, focusing on security, economic, defence, energy and counterterrorism, officials said.

Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is scheduled to meet senior U.S. Military and Government officials in Washington, an army statement said.

The Dialogue will be co-chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmod Qureshi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officials said.

Pakistan’s defence minister, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, finance minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and agriculture minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal will also take part in the dialogue.

The Ministerial-level bilateral Strategic Dialogue was launched in Washington in March this year and the second round was held in Islamabad in July.

The third round in Washington will also cover agriculture, communications and public diplomacy, education, health, law enforcement, market access, science and technology, strategic stability water, and women's empowerment, official said.

Officials said that Pakistani and U.S. political and defence officials will also explore ways how to bridge trust gap as two sides admit differences over various issues including strikes by American drone in the tribal regions.

Analysts say that both sides may also touch on the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan as Washington seeks Islamabad’s role in bringing Taliban to the negotiation table.

Foreign Minister Qureshi in his visit to the NATO headquarters last week offered Pakistan’s help in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30029371

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