Islamabad: US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Pakistan this month, marking the first high-level contact between the two countries since the new government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office.

"US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive in the fourth week of this month," Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said.

This will also be Kerry's first visit to Islamabad since taking office.

Shortly before Sharif was sworn in as premier, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins had visited Islamabad.

Sharif has retained the crucial Foreign Affairs portfolio and appointed former Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz as his advisor.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since 2011, when a CIA contractor gunned down two Pakistani men in Lahore and Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a unilateral American military raid in Abbottabad. The CIA's drone campaign targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda elements in Pakistan’s tribal belt has also emerged as a key irritant in relations.

(Agencies)

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