WASHINGTON, June 26: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaves Washington on Monday for a surprise visit to Islamabad amid growing tensions between two key US allies in the region, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Earlier reports indicated that Ms Rice would stopover in Islamabad on her way to Russia to attend a conference of the world’s eight economic powers, which begins on Wednesday. But the State Department described it as a full visit to both Pakistan and Russia, saying that she would first travel to Islamabad to ‘follow up on wide-ranging areas of cooperation established during President Bush’s trip to the Pakistani capital earlier this year.’

In her meeting with President Musharraf and other Pakistani officials, ‘she will discuss bilateral and regional issues and express strong US support of Pakistan as a partner in many areas including the war on terror,” the State Department said.

Her meeting with Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri is expected to focus on removing differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Relations between the two neighbours strained this summer as Afghan insurgents sped up activities across the country, targeting Afghan and coalition forces.

Opinion

Editorial

Who should vote?
06 Dec 2021

Who should vote?

Logistical issues regarding transparency in the casting of votes also require detailed deliberations.
06 Dec 2021

Weak fundamentals

LAST week, Pakistan’s finance chief Shaukat Tarin sought to reassure the markets and people that our economic...
06 Dec 2021

Winter sports potential

FOR a country blessed with three of the world’s most famous mountain ranges, Pakistan has produced precious few...
Horror in Sialkot
Updated 05 Dec 2021

Horror in Sialkot

All it takes now is an allegation of blasphemy and an individual or two to incite a mob to commit murder.
05 Dec 2021

Iran deadlock

EFFORTS to revive the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Austrian capital of Vienna appear to be deadlocked, and...
05 Dec 2021

Reality of AIDS

AS World AIDS Day was marked on Dec 1, it came as a sobering reminder of how newer, major health hazards — the...