WASHINGTON – A scheduled high-level meeting among U.S., Afghan and Pakistani officials this month has been postponed, the State Department said on Saturday amid a deepening diplomatic rift over a U.S. man locked in a Pakistani jail accused of murder.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the decision to scrap the February 23-24 meeting had been taken "in light of political changes in Pakistan and after discussions with Afghan and Pakistani officials in Washington."
Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Friday dropped Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a cabinet shake-up.
"We remain committed to a robust engagement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States as we share many issues of mutual concern and benefit from being at the same table," Crowley said in a statement, adding that the United States hoped to reschedule the meeting "at the earliest opportunity."
Tensions between Islamabad and Washington have been rising over the case of Raymond Davis, a U.S. consular employee who shot dead two Pakistani men last month in what he said was an attempted robbery.
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