WASHINGTON: Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry or a senior member of the Obama administration may soon travel to Islamabad for talks on reviving bilateral ties, diplomatic sources told Dawn.
Senator Kerry was to visit Pakistan earlier this month but delayed his trip because an official delegation, headed by US Special Envoy Marc Grossman, was already going to Islamabad.
Diplomatic sources in Washington, however, are saying there’s a strong possibility that the Obama administration may send a senior official instead of Senator Kerry.When asked to name the official, the sources pointed out that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was already in the region but added that it’s still not clear if the administration would send such a senior person at this stage.
“If Secretary Clinton goes, it would mean that the two sides have made a breakthrough and are ready to finalise a deal,” one source said.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, who was to return to Washington on Sunday, has further extended her stay because of the expected visit.
Ambassador Rehman went to Islamabad almost two weeks ago for talks with Mr Grossman’s team. She extended her stay for further talks with a team of mid-level US officials on the efforts to reopen ground supply routes to Afghanistan.On Tuesday, the US Department of Defence sent a report to Congress, saying that the continued closure of ground routes could hurt US efforts to rebuild Afghan security forces to combat the militants.
The report observed that the capabilities of the Afghan government remained limited, and expressed “strategic concern” over the continued closure of the crucial Nato supply routes.
“The resultant standoff has hampered Afghan security forces equipping and fielding efforts by backlogging thousands of tons of equipment.