WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping to visit Pakistan soon, once the new government of incoming prime minister Nawaz Sharif is in place, a US official said Monday.
The two men already spoke on the phone on Sunday, when the top US diplomat called Sharif "to congratulate him on his strong showing in Saturday's elections," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
Kerry also told Sharif "that he looks forward to working with the government as the government is formed in Pakistan."
Ties between the two countries soured after the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 by US Navy SEALS when he was tracked down to his compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, after a decade on the run.
The killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a US-led NATO air strike in November 2011 then led Islamabad to cut off land routes into Afghanistan used by US troops for re-supplying their forces.
Ties were gradually mended, but tensions remained and one thorn in the relationship is US drone strikes targeting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in the northwestern tribal belt.
Sharif has already promised Pakistan's "full support" as the United States withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan, but said he would raise the issue of drone strikes with US leaders.
Washington would be hoping to enhance its cooperation with Islamabad on issues such as counter-terrorism, once the government is formed, Psaki said.
Sharif has "indicated he wants to work closely with the US. We would like to have a positive, productive relationship as well on a number of these issues," Psaki said, adding that first the new government needed to be formed. (AFP)