U.S. officials are postponing scheduled meetings with Afghan and Pakistani officials because of what the State Department calls political changes in Pakistan. The move comes as Pakistani officials say they will not deport the American diplomat Raymond Davis who is accused of killing two Pakistanis.
The statement released Saturday by the Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley says the trilateral meeting scheduled for February 23 and 24 in Washington is being postponed.
The statement goes on to say the United States remains committed to robust engagement with Afghanistan and Pakistan and that the three-way meetings are very important.
Crowley concludes by saying another meeting will be convened at the earliest opportunity.
No specific reason is given for the delay other than what the statement calls "political changes in Pakistan."
It came just hours after Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in Islamabad no one including Raymond Davis is above the law, and that no proposal to have the U.S. diplomat deported is being considered.
Earlier this week a video reported to show Davis being interrogated by Pakistani police was circulated on the Internet.
Interrogator: "You are working in the Consulate General in Lahore?"
Raymond Davis: "I just work as a consultant there."
Davis was arrested two weeks ago in Lahore after allegedly shooting to death two Pakistani men. The police chief in Lahore called him a "cold-blooded murderer." Authorities also questioned why Davis was carrying a loaded gun while out in public.
Davis says he was defending himself against two armed robbers. But on Friday (02/11/011), a court ordered his detention extended another 14 days.
Further increasing outrage in Pakistan over this case, a U.S. diplomatic vehicle which rushed to assist Davis struck and killed a third Pakistani man, while the wife of one of the men allegedly shot to death committed suicide.
U.S. officials have said Davis should be protected by diplomatic immunity and released immediately.