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Pakistan asks U.S. debt forgiveness

  |   June 6, 2009 at 7:33 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 6 (UPI) -- A meeting between U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani included a plea for debt forgiveness, officials said.

Gilani asked Holbrooke during their Friday meeting to help Islamabad's struggle against Taliban militants by writing off $1.35 billion it owes to the United States, Pakistan's English language newspaper Dawn reported.

Holbrooke told Gilani he would look into the matter, Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Hina Khar told Dawn.

Also during the meeting, Gilani reportedly urged the White House to persuade Congress to put requests for substantial increases in military aid to Pakistan on a fast track while it battles Taliban militants in the North West Frontier Province.

Dawn said Gilani acknowledged that the United States had funneled $300 million in humanitarian aid to Islamabad in its efforts to help millions of refugees in Swat and other war-torn northwestern districts.

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