Pakistan's PM Holds Talks with Kerry
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, met John Kerry, US secretary of state, in Washington in advance of talks in the White House aimed at improving an uneasy relationship with the US administration.
Kerry said on Sunday the US relationship with Pakistan "could not be more important," underscoring the South Asian country's economic and security woes in the context of regional stability.
Kerry, who visited Islamabad in August, called Pakistan a "democracy that is working hard to get its economy moving and deal with insurgency and also important to the regional stability."
The State Department said the pair discussed counterterrorism cooperation, energy, trade and investment, and "the common interest in a secure and stable Afghanistan."
Sharif, who is due to meet President Barack Obama on Wednesday, did not speak during Sunday's brief session with reporters, Al Jazeera reported.
US officials have said the Obama administration is poised to release more than $1.6bln in military and economic aid to Pakistan.
For a start, the State Department has asked Congress to resume more than $300m in blocked security assistance to Pakistan, officials said on Sunday.
The US needs Pakistan's cooperation as it prepares to withdraw thousands of pieces of heavy equipment from Afghanistan before NATO combat operations end in late 2014.