Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

U.S. Plans to Release Aid to Pakistan as Tensions Ease ; White House Announces Decision on $1.5 Billion before Premier's Visit

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

U.S. Plans to Release Aid to Pakistan as Tensions Ease ; White House Announces Decision on $1.5 Billion before Premier's Visit

Article excerpt

Funds for security aid had been blocked because of tension over several events, including the raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistani territory.

The United States plans to give more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Pakistan for programs that had been blocked because of tension between the two nations over events including the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, American officials have said.

The decision to release the money, which is expected to be discussed when President Obama welcomes Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the White House on Wednesday, was confirmed Saturday by the State Department and congressional officials.

The White House has set a warm tone for the session between Mr. Obama and Mr. Sharif, officially stating that the meeting would highlight the "resilience of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship" and further cooperation on trade and economic development, regional stability and the fight against extremism.

For all the good will that the Obama administration is seeking to generate through the package, relations between the countries are still dictated by tensions over the C.I.A.-operated drone program.

Mr. Sharif's government has repeatedly condemned American drone strikes that have occurred in Pakistan's tribal belt since his administration began in June, despite assurances from American officials that the strikes were killing few civilians.

Another point of contention has been the future of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops in 2014. American officials say that Pakistan can play a crucial role in attempts to draw the Afghan Taliban into peace talks, yet remain suspicious of the Pakistani military's links to certain militant factions like the Haqqani network, which has carried out many attacks on Western and Afghan troops inside Afghanistan. …

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