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Kerry lauds Pakistan as important US partner

(AP) Kerry lauds Pakistan as important US partner
LARA JAKES
AP National Security Writer
WASHINGTON
America's top diplomat says the U.S. relationship with Pakistan "could not be more important" as the Islamic republic grapples with economic and security woes, and regional stability.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke Sunday as he sat down with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (nah-WAHZ' shah-REEF'), who is in Washington this week for talks with the White House.

Kerry declined to answer questions after brief remarks to reporters at the State Department. But U.S. officials say the Obama administration is poised to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to help bolster ties with Islamabad that have deteriorated over deadly American airstrikes and the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin laden in Pakistan.

Sharif did not speak during the brief session with reporters.

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