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U.S. Senator Kerry in Pakistan to solve diplomatic dispute

02-16-2011 08:59 BJT

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday for talks over the fate of a U.S. employee, who faces double murder charges, to help resolve the fast growing diplomatic row between the two allies.

A brief statement from the U.S. embassy said John Kerry will meet with senior Pakistani government officials and "reaffirm U.S. support for the strategic relationship between the two countries."

The embassy statement did not mention whether Kerry would discuss the issue of Raymond Davis, the U.S. shooter, with Pakistani leaders but it is thought that the issue would top his discussions in Islamabad and the east city of Lahore.

Kerry arrived in Lahore Tuesday night to meet U.S. diplomats to get abreast himself about the status of the shooter's trial. He is likely to meet the Pakistani police officers involved in the investigation process, sources said.

Kerry's visit may be an attempt to play down reports in the U.S. and Pakistani media that the murder of two Pakistanis in Lahore on Jan. 27 has spoiled ties between the two allies in the so-called anti-terror war.

The U.S. has suspended high-level talks with Pakistan and several U.S. Congressmen threatened to stop aid to its ally after Islamabad insisted that court should decide his diplomatic immunity.

The U.S. argues that Davis was in Pakistan under a diplomatic visa and has diplomatic immunity from prosecution in a host country.

U.S. media reported last week that Washington has suspended all high-level talks with Islamabad over the issue.

The U.S. was scheduled to host a trilateral meeting in Washington with Afghanistan and Pakistan later this month, but the meeting was canceled as Pakistan has refused to release Davis and insists that the court should decide the issue of immunity.

The Lahore High Court, which hears the case, said that the government has no role in the case as it is sub-judice.

In 2009 Sen. Kerry co-authored the enhanced partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which triples non-military foreign assistance to Pakistan to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars per year over the next five years.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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