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Obama to meet with Pakistani PM next week

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With relations between the two allies increasingly tense, President Obama plans to meet with Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani Tuesday during the nuclear security summit in Seoul next week.

The White House Friday said the meeting with provide an opportunity for the U.S. and Pakistan to continue “high-level consultations on areas of mutual interest.”

“In particular, the president looks forward to reviewing our efforts to support an Afghan-led reconciliation process, and to pursue an end-state in the region that advances security and prosperity,” the White House said in a statement.

The Obama administration remains open to talks that would support reconciliation with rebel Taliban forces, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday. The Taliban pulled out of preliminary negotiations after the burning of the Koran by American troops and the murder of 16 civilians at the hands of a U.S. soldier.

Relations between the two allies became even more strained after the discovery and killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani military town in May 2011. Ties between the two countries hit bottom in November when NATO aircraft mistakenly attacked two Pakistani border posts, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The Seoul summit will focus on ways to protect nuclear materials from getting into the hands of terrorist or criminal elements. Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal in the world. It has been the lone holdout in beginning talks aimed at a treaty that would prevent the further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, arguing that cooperating could leave it at a disadvantage against rival India, which first developed a nuclear arsenal in the late 1990s.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at scrabtree@washingtontimes.com.

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