Bashir will spearhead the Pakistani delegation in two rounds of meetings of a steering group. The meetings will be held at the State Department and the Pakistani embassy. — File Photo

WASHINGTON: Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir arrived here Wednesday evening to hold talks with US officials as the two countries seek ways to sort out differences and find “strategic convergences” to move their strategic relationship forward.

The top Pakistani career diplomat is visiting Washington for two-day talks at the invitation of US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, who will lead the American side.

Bashir will spearhead the Pakistani delegation in two rounds of meetings of a steering group. The meetings will be held at the State Department and the Pakistani embassy.

Director General Americas in the Foreign Ministry Suhail Khan and Spokesperson of the Foreign Office Tehmina Janjua are included in the Pakistani delegation.

The meetings take place in the backdrop of tensions that arose from the Central Intelligence Agency contractor, Raymond Davis killing of two Pakistanis and Islamabad's objections to frequent drone strikes in Pakistani Tribal Areas.

Security and foreign affairs experts believe that cooperative relations between Pakistan and the United States are critical to outcome of the decade-old Afghan conflict.

Both sides will issue a joint statement at the end of the meetings, also to be attended by Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides.

“We look forward to moving forward,” Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, said in reference to desire to address difficulties in bilateral ties.

In addition to bilateral issues, the discussions are expected to cover efforts towards resolution of the Afghan conflict and regional situation with reference to Pakistan’s eastern neighbour India.

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