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Holbrooke cancels Pakistan visit

world Updated: Jun 08, 2010 20:23 IST

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US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has called off his planned visit to Pakistan, as none of the top officials will be present in Islamabad on the previously planned date, owing to prior commitments.

"Holbrooke's visit on Wednesday has been cancelled," Dawn.com quoted a senior official at Pakistan's foreign ministry as saying.

Holbrooke planned to visit Islamabad for discussions on the just-concluded India-US strategic dialogue, on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China, last week's Afghan peace jirga and the Pakistan-US official-level talks beginning Friday.

However, he was informed that neither Pakistani President Asif Zardari nor Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi would be in Islamabad. Zardari would be in the Uzbek capital Tashkent for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit and Qureshi would be in Istanbul for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

The cancelled visit would have been Holbrooke's eighth to Pakistan since he assumed office early last year and his third this year.

During the earlier visits, Holbrooke met Zardari and Qureshi, and also Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha.

US embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said that June 9 was one of several dates discussed but the visit was certainly not happening this week.