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Kerry hopes US drone strikes in Pak will end ‘very soon’

US secretary of state John Kerry told Pakistanis on Thursday that Washington planned to end drone strikes in their country soon - a message aimed at removing a major source of anti-American resentment in the strategically  important country. After meeting Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Kerry said they had agreed to re-establish a ‘full partnership’, hoping to end  years of acrimony over the drone strikes and other grievances including the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
In a television interview later, Kerry said of the drone strikes: ‘I think the program will end as we have eliminated  most of the threat and continue to eliminate it.’

‘I think the president has a very real timeline and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon,’he told Pakistan  Television, when asked whether the US had a timeline for ending drone strikes, aimed at militants in Pakistan. US drone missiles have targeted areas near the Afghan border including North Waziristan, the main stronghold for various militant groups aligned with Al-Qaida and the Taliban, since 2004.

Pakistanis have been angered by reports of civilian casualties and what they see as an abuse of their sovereignty. It is unclear if, in their face-to-face talks, Sharif asked Kerry to halt the drone attacks. But when asked whether Pakistan wanted US to curtail the strikes, his foreign affairs adviser, Sartaj Aziz, replied: ‘We are asking them to stop it, not just curtail it.’
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