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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Offers Pakistan Arms Worth $9Bln

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The United States has offered $9 billion worth of arms sales to Pakistan to help it enhance its defense capability, a newspaper reported Monday.

Pakistan's army refused to make any immediate comment on the report, but acknowledged that a meeting of Pakistani and U.S. defense officials -- the Pakistan-U.S. Defense Consultative Group -- was to be held in Washington later this month to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between Pakistan and the United States.

The meeting is tentatively scheduled for the second week of this month, said General Shaukat Sultan, a spokesman for the Pakistan military.

The group last met in September 2002 in Pakistan, following the lifting of U.S. sanctions on the country. Washington had imposed many of the sanctions following Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998.

Despite the improved relations, some penalties remain. For instance, Congress continues to block the release of 28 F-16 fighter jets that Pakistan bought 13 years ago.

At a meeting in Camp David in June with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf, U.S. President George W. Bush announced a $3 billion aid package, half of it for defense. However, the U.S. president made clear that the F-16s were not part of the deal.

Pakistan, which has become a key ally of the United States in the war on terror, has been urging Washington to help it beef up its military with modern weapons and equipment and to revive the F-16 deal.

Pakistan's largest English-language daily, The News, said renewal of the F-16 purchase was "on the agenda of the Washington meeting."

Sultan said he had no information about what would be discussed at the talks. Pakistan will also seek to purchase high-tech radar and optical devices and missiles, the paper reported.

Pakistan and the United States will also discuss training opportunities for Pakistani military officials in America and joint military exercises, it said.

The leader of the Pakistani delegation, General Hamid Nawaz, will also visit the Pentagon and meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the newspaper reported, quoting unnamed sources.