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Pakistani PM Sharif Beginning US Meetings

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives in Washington Sunday on a four-day visit to discuss the issues that have caused ups and downs between Washington and Islamabad in recent years.

Mr. Sharif will meet Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday and President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. have been on the mend this year after lurching from crisis to crisis in 2011 and 2012.

As a sign of improvement in the ties, the U.S. has decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan that was suspended when relations between the two countries soured over the covert raid that killed al-Qaida head Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan in 2011.

The Afghanistan peace process and the U.S. drone campaign against militants in Pakistan are likely to top the agenda when Sharif meets the U.S. leadership. He will also use the trip to seek help for his country's ailing economy and dysfunctional energy sector.

The U.S. seeks Pakistan's cooperation in cracking down on militants who allegedly launch attacks on U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistan.

This is Mr. Sharif's first visit to Washington since being elected the country's prime minister for a record third time in May this year.