Washington: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama planned to meet yesterday with the prime minister of Pakistan, one of a series of private sessions for discussions ranging from international to economic concerns.
Obama was to confer with Pakistan's new leader, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, according to Obama's campaign.
President George W. Bush met with Gilani on Monday at the White House and praised Gilani as a reliable partner in confronting extremism.
Speaking to CNN television just hours after seeing Bush, Gilani said the United States needs to be more patient and should not take unilateral actions against militants in Pakistan.
US-Pakistan relations have been strained by the war in Afghanistan and questions about the whereabouts of Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, who some believe may be hiding along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The US has been pressuring Pakistan to take action against strongholds of Taliban and Al Qaida fighters believed to be in that nation's frontier.
Increasing troop strength
Obama has called for increasing US troop strength in Afghanistan and has said that as president he would take unilateral action if Bin Laden were found to be in Pakistan, a statement that angered Pakistanis when Obama first made it last year.
Obama made the point again earlier this month, saying "if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like Bin Laden if we have them in our sights".