High level US delegation to visit Pakistan in coming days for table talks: Foreign media report

High level US delegation to visit Pakistan in coming days for table talks: Foreign media report
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Islamabad, Pakistan - Pakistani and US officials are continuing to meet and cooperate "at all levels", despite the suspension of $1.1bn in US aid and amid fiery statements by political leaders declaring the end of Islamabad's alliance with Washington, diplomats told Al Jazeera.

"There is no freeze [in relations]," said a senior Pakistani foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We are speaking to each other, at all levels. We are not sharing the details of that at this time, but the effort to find some common ground or traction on both sides is there."

A US State Department official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that talks between the two sides were "ongoing".

A high level visit by a senior US diplomat to the Pakistani capital is expected in the coming week, with talks on moving an increasingly troubled relationship forward. INSIDE STORY: Will Donald Trump cut all aid to Palestine and Pakistan?

On Friday, Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled the country for roughly half of its 70-year history, confirmed that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had spoken with US CENTCOM military commander General Joseph Votel twice in the last week, as well to an unnamed US senator.

A day earlier, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed the two sides were "continu[ing] to communicate with each other on various issues of mutual interest at different levels".

The diplomatic and military contacts are at odds with public statements made by both Pakistani and US leaders.

Earlier this week, Pakistani Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir claimed that Pakistan had suspended all military and intelligence cooperation with the United States, a claim the US State department denied, and which seems to be at odds with General Bajwa's contact with the US CENTCOM chief.

"We have received no notification regarding a suspension in defence and intelligence cooperation," said Richard Snelsire, the spokesperson for the US embassy in Islamabad.

Last week, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif declared that an alliance with the United States was "over" <link>, after US President Donald Trump suspended $1.1bn in aid and accused Pakistan of harbouring armed groups that fight US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The foreign ministry appeared on Friday to publicly back down from that position.

"The remarks of the foreign minister need to be seen in the proper perspective," said Muhammad Faisal, the ministry's spokesperson. "The foreign minister was expressing his frustration at the unwarranted US accusations against Pakistan and the unilateral decision to suspend the security assistance, despite Pakistan's extraordinary sacrifices and contribution in the war against terrorism."

Foreign Policy