Kerry defers Pak visit because of Syrian crisis
Islamabad: US Secretary of State John Kerry has been forced to defer a visit to Pakistan till next month because of the crisis in Syria, officials said on Tuesday.
Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry had said last week that Kerry was expected to visit Pakistan in the last week of this month. Pakistani officials said that the trip had been delayed till the first half of July due to an escalation in the crisis in Syria.
The Americans had been forced to reschedule Kerry's visit due to sudden deterioration of the situation in Syria, said one official who did not want to be named.
Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs and National Security, too said while speaking in parliament that Kerry was likely to visit Pakistan next month.
Kerry is expected to hold talks with Pakistan's new government on the fight against terrorism in the country's northwest and the situation in Afghanistan, including the exit of US and foreign forces.
He will be the senior most US official to visit Pakistan since Sharif was sworn in as premier after the May 11 polls.
US-Pakistan relations have been hit by a series of crises in recent years, including the unilateral American military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, the closure of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and differences over the CIAs drone campaign in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.