Sen. John Kerry was in Pakistan this week in hopes of settling a dispute over an American Embassy worker detained in the country.
Kerry said Wednesday at the end of a two-day visit that he is confident Washington and Islamabad will find an "appropriate and judicious outcome" to the standoff that has threatened relations with a key ally in the war in Afghanistan.
U.S. embassy worker Raymond Davis is in prison for shooting two men to death in the city of Lahore. Davis admitted he shot the men, but said it was in self defense because the men were armed and about to rob or kill him in his car.
The U.S. says, as a diplomat under the Vienna Convention in international law, Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be freed immediately.
"If our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country's local prosecution," President Barack Obama said in reaction to the case. "We respect it with respect to the diplomats who are here. We expect Pakistan, which is a signatory, (to) recognize Mr. Davis as a diplomat and to abide by the same convention."
Pakistani residents want Davis executed. Their anger is fueled by reports in Pakistan's media charging that Davis is a spy, and that the dead men worked for Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence.
"Blood for blood. God willing, Davis will be hanged by the court," the brother of one of men said.
Two years ago, Congress approved more than $7 billion in economic and military aid to Pakistan.
That aid could be cut off if this incident ends badly -- an ominous sign in a country where the Taliban is gaining strength and possession of nuclear bombs has doubled in four years.