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Obama to sign Kerry-Lugar bill today, sans any change

US President Barack Obama is today expected to sign into law the Kerry-Lugar bill for USD 7.5 billion aid to Pakistan after two powerful Congressional committees issue an "explanatory statement" addressing concerns of its opponents, mainly the Pakistan Army.

world Updated: Oct 14, 2009 11:15 IST

US President Barack Obama is today expected to sign into law the Kerry-Lugar bill for $7.5 billion aid to Pakistan after two powerful Congressional committees issue an "explanatory statement" addressing concerns of its opponents, mainly the Pakistan Army.

However, there would be no change in the text of the bill, which its key architects and the Obama administration insisted has nothing to impinge on Pakistan's sovereignty.

Visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met a number of key Congressional leaders and officials here to convey to them concerns of the powerful Army and opposition parties in his country over the bill.

Congressman Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters that the House and Senate foreign affairs committees would issue a Joint Explanatory Statement detailing the intents and contents of the bill.

Administration officials and Congressional sources said the statement is expected to be issued later in the day in an effort to address Pakistani objections to the bill, but ruled out making any changes in the bill at this point of time.

"Obama believes this is an important piece of legislation and will sign it soon," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The Washington Post said the joint statement will "clarify" provisions requiring reports on Pakistan's expenditures, its progress in combating insurgents and the extent of civilian control over military.