Pakistan’s Sharif to Meet with Obama at White House

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 26, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

Pakistani Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif is sched­uled to meet with U.S. Pres­id­ent Obama in Wash­ing­ton next month for talks that will ad­dress ef­forts to pre­vent mil­it­ant ex­trem­ism, ac­cord­ing to a Thursday White House an­nounce­ment.

The Oct. 23 meet­ing will “high­light the im­port­ance and re­si­li­ence of the U.S.-Pakistan re­la­tion­ship” and give the two sides a chance to dis­cuss mul­tiple areas for en­han­cing re­la­tions in­clud­ing trade, en­ergy and fos­ter­ing re­gion­al sta­bil­ity, Obama press sec­ret­ary Jay Car­ney said.

The talks at the White House will con­sti­tute the first form­al meet­ing between the two world lead­ers since Sharif was elec­ted in May.

Earli­er this month, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted the U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­munity had rat­cheted up ef­forts to mon­it­or Pakistan’s nuc­le­ar weapons com­plex out of con­cern that loc­al ex­trem­ist act­ors could in­filt­rate or at­tack atom­ic fa­cil­it­ies in or­der to ac­quire ma­ter­i­als for a nuc­le­ar bomb. Is­lamabad re­spon­ded to the me­dia re­port by re­it­er­at­ing past claims that its nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al is kept fully se­cure.

Giv­en the pri­or­ity Obama places on im­prov­ing glob­al-nuc­le­ar se­cur­ity, he and Sharif could talk about Pakistan’s atom­ic pro­tec­tions.

Sharif met with U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry on Thursday on the mar­gins of the U.N. Gen­er­al As­sembly meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to a Pakistani For­eign Min­istry press re­lease.

“The two sides re­viewed the state of bi­lat­er­al re­la­tion­ship and agreed to in­tensi­fy the en­gage­ments in the com­ing weeks and months to fur­ther ex­pand and deep­en bi­lat­er­al co­oper­a­tion in all areas,” the re­lease states.

Sharif told Kerry that deal­ing with Pakistan’s en­ergy crisis was a ma­jor pri­or­ity of his ad­min­is­tra­tion. In years past, Is­lamabad has pe­ti­tioned Wash­ing­ton to grant it an atom­ic-en­ergy trade deal, sim­il­ar to the one signed with long­time rival In­dia in 2008. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion thus far has re­fused these re­peated en­treat­ies.

The Pakistani lead­er is slated to ad­dress the U.N. Gen­er­al As­sembly on Fri­day and could meet briefly with In­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh on the side­lines of the gath­er­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Pakistani Na­tion news­pa­per. Sharif ad­dressed a high-level U.N. meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, when he talked about re­du­cing poverty.

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