U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton does plan to visit Pakistan and the two sides are engaged to lay the groundwork for the visit, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday, Xinhua reported.
"The secretary does plan to visit Pakistan in order to have an in-depth strategic discussion about our cooperation and to convey the U.S. government's views on the way forward with Pakistan," Toner told reporters at the department.
But he added that Clinton will go "when she can have those discussions in the right context and with the right preparation and that we're engaged right now with the Pakistanis to lay that groundwork."
He noted that over the past 24 hours, Clinton had spoken with senior Pakistani leaders including President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman will be heading to Pakistan to continue the discussions to lay the groundwork for Clinton's "eventual visit."
U.S. special forces launched an assault early this month, unbeknown to the Pakistani side, killing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad on the outskirts of Islamabad. The assault has strained an already frayed U.S.-Pakistani relationship.
John Kerry, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee who is on a visit to Pakistan, said that Clinton would visit the South Asian country to "develop new trust."