ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the US are expected to hold crucial talks this week to carve out a new framework under which supplies for the western forces stationed in Afghanistan would pass through the country, officials said.
In an effort to formulate a new agreement, US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides is likely to travel to Islamabad this week.
Nides, who is the deputy secretary of state for management and resources, is due to hold discussions with relevant government officials, including Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, a government official said, requesting anonymity.
The talks would mark the first time the two countries will hold formal negotiations on the issue since Islamabad shut down the vital supply routes in November last year in reaction to the Nato airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Islamabad has refused to lift the ban until Washington agrees to pay compensation and additional taxes on Nato supplies. The official added that Washington had shown its willingness to accept Islamabad’s demand of additional fees on Nato goods passing through Pakistan.
The Coalition Support Fund (CSF) is also expected to be discussed during the meeting, said another official. Last week, US Ambassador Cameron Munter met Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh to finalise the agenda of Nides’ visit. The CSF has been one of the contentious issues between the two countries. The fund was established by the United States in 2001 to support 27 nations, including Pakistan, to partially cover costs they incur during the war against terrorism.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.
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