ISLAMABAD - US President Barack Obama has a timeline for ending the US programme of drone strikes, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday, following talks with the new government of Pakistan. "I think the programme will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it," Kerry said in an interview with Pakistan Television. "The president has a very real timeline and we hope it's going to be very, very soon," Kerry added, when asked whether the US had a timeline for ending drone strikes. It is the first time that such a senior US official has indicated that there could be a definitive end to the programme, which the CIA has in the past called an effective counter-terrorism weapon. A spokesman for the Pakistan foreign ministry late Thursday welcomed Kerry's remarks, saying it was Islamabad's long-standing position that they should stop.