Grossman, FM Khar hold meeting in foreign office

ISLAMABAD: The bilateral discussion continued between Foreign Minster Hina Rabbani Khar and Obama administration’s top envoy for Pakistan Marc Grossman here on Thursday.

Sources told that, Us ambassador for Pakistan Cameron Munter, Foreign Secretary Jaleel Abbas Jilani and other officials are also attending the meeting.

Marc grossman arrived Islamabad on Wednesday for two days of meetings aimed at resetting the two countries’ fractious relationship after a series of damaging setbacks.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Grossman’s trip was aimed “deepening and broadening” the conversation between Washington and Islamabad after a Pakistani parliamentary review of the relationship which laid out a series of demands including an end to U.S. drone strikes.

“We’ve begun our process of re-engaging with the Pakistani government to work through the issues that have come up during the review, so this will be an effort to really take up those issues one at a time and see how we work through them,” Nuland told a news briefing.

Grossman, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been on a visit to Europe, Turkey and the Gulf to discuss Afghanistan, where most NATO troops are due to pull out in 2014.

Pakistan’s parliament earlier this month approved recommendations from its national security committee on ties with the United States, which have lurched from crisis to crisis as the two governments spar over security, assistance and the future of Afghanistan.

Nuland said Grossman’s trip, which follows several other high-level U.S. visits to Pakistan, would be aimed at building a new basis for cooperation.

“We had been waiting for that (parliamentary) review to be concluded before we could fully re-engage, so this is our opportunity to do that,” Nuland said.

“We want to hear the Pakistani government’s presentation of where it thinks the bilateral relationship needs to go, and then we will present our views and work through issues as partners do,” she added.

She declined to say whether Grossman would be prepared to discuss the drone issue, although she described him as a “fully empowered” representative of U.S. government policy.

The United States has been seeking Pakistan’s cooperation to stabilize Afghanistan before most foreign combat troops leave at the end of 2014, mainly because of its links with the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups.

In particular, the United States hopes Pakistan will agree to reopen overland supply routes for the U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, which it closed in November following the cross-border attack.

But that cooperation has been shaken by a series of events, including the NATO attack and the U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in May last year and humiliated the powerful military.