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FO welcomes Obama’s Pak visit plan

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will not visit Pakistan during his trip to Asia next month, but he is committed to a trip there in 2011, as well as welcoming Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to Washington, the White House said on Wednesday.
Obama would be traveling to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan from next month. Managing the complex US relationship with Pakistan, including Islamabad’s role in the US-led Afghanistan war, is one of Washington’s most difficult foreign policy challenges.
Despite a commitment of $7.5 billion in US aid over five years and substantial US aid after Pakistan’s devastating floods, Pakistanis remain skeptical of US intentions. Some commentators had said it would be an insult if Obama failed to visit Pakistan while touring the country’s arch-rival and neighbor, India.
On the other hand, Pakistan Wednesday praised US President Barack Obama for saying he would visit the country next year, calling it a sign of commitment between the troubled war partners.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, speaking afterward at the Brookings Institution think-tank, called his meeting with Obama “very satisfying.”
“The fact that he has agreed to visit Pakistan next year, the fact that he has decided to invite the president of Pakistan to the United States of America, that is the level of engagement that is taking place,” Qureshi said. -Agencies


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