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Obama-Gilani meeting likely next week in Seoul

Islamabad, Fri, 23 Mar 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Mar 23 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to meet US President Barack Obama in Seoul next week on the sidelines of a nuclear safety summit.

Gilani will reach South Korea on Sunday for the two-day summit starting on March 26.

The Dawn quoted a parliamentary source, as saying that the agenda of the meeting "is obvious" with a lot of focus on the proposed guidelines for revised terms of engagement between the two countries.

The proposed terms call for cessation of drone attacks, unconditional apology for the Nov 26 Salala attack and assurances against a repeat of the border incident and suggest new taxes on transport of goods for coalition forces through Pakistani territory.

It is expected that the meeting will help the two sides better understand each other's position and set the tone for negotiations on resumption of bilateral cooperation.

Beyond that, any major forward movement is unlikely in Seoul because the government has made it clear that progress in ties can only be made after the completion of the parliamentary process.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told US Ambassador Cameron Munter on Thursday that the "parliamentary process would give public ownership to the re-engagement, and transparency and predictability in Pakistan's relations with the United States".

Munter reiterated US commitment to respecting the recommendations.

"Depending on what the final recommendations and the policy guidelines of the joint parliamentary session are, we will then proceed accordingly, but obviously if we were to revisit some of the agreements which were concluded in 2002, we will have to engage with the US intensively. For now, we are all waiting for the parliamentary process to complete," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said.

"We cannot really agree or accept drone strikes inside Pakistan under any circumstances," Basit added. (ANI)

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