The highly anticipated meeting between President Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, potentially the last one before Gilani is jailed for contempt of court, was longer than initially scheduled, according to officials familiar with it, and centered on drone strikes.
The discussion saw Gilani reiterating parliament’s demand that the US halt all its drone strikes against Pakistan, and Obama insisting that the US is “not ready” to do that, and that the strikes will eventually “be helpful in eliminating terror.”
Obama, as expected, was more interested in securing a final deal on reopening the border to Afghanistan for military supplies. Gilani is said to have told Obama that there was no chance for a secret deal and that the drone demand remained.
The US has been pushing for a return to the situation before US warplanes attacked a pair of Pakistani military bases in late November. Massive anti-US protests in Pakistan have the civilian leadership convinced they can no longer give the US a free rein to operate.
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