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'Pak, US to hold talks on re-opening NATO supply routes, stopping drone strikes'

Washington, Sun, 22 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 22(ANI): The United States and Pakistan will begin high-level talks in Islamabad next week and Afghanistan will join them later for a key meeting of the trilateral core group on April 26, official sources have said.

US Special Representative Marc Grossman will lead the U.S. delegation at the talks, while Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani will head the Pakistani team.

Grossman will hold bilateral meetings with senior Pakistani officials on the Pakistan's parliament's recently- passed recommendations about the re-engagement with the US.

The U.S. will expect Pakistan to re-open the NATO supply routes that had been shut since the deadly November 26 raid, as the first step towards normalisation of ties.

The Pakistani government seems eager to oblige but widespread anti-American sentiments in the country prevents it from doing so amid the upcoming general elections, a diplomatic source said.

"But if the elections are causing Pakistan to delay the reopening, the same process is causing the Obama administration to seek an early solution," the Dawn quoted a source, as saying.

The U.S.' reluctance to accept some key Pakistan parliament's recommendations like an apology over the November 26 border raid, which led to the closure of the NATO routes, and halting of drone attacks.

According to sources, Pakistan's ambassador has succeeded in persuading the US to offer a public apology before a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, but Islamabad asked the U.S. to wait for the completion of the parliamentary review. (ANI)

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