NATO supplies, military bills: Pakistan, US agree on new framework

Published: April 5, 2012

US Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides arrived in Pakistan for talks designed to help reset the troubled bilateral relationship. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: While parliament squabbles over the contours of a future relationship with the United States, Islamabad and Washington have agreed to revisit two key issues: Nato supplies and military reimbursements.

Both sides on Wednesday agreed to introduce a new framework that will cover military compensation for Pakistani troops fighting the war on terror and the price to be charged to Nato containers supplying goods to troops stationed in Afghanistan at present, and for the pullout of heavy equipment when coalition forces withdraw in 2014.

Formal negotiations on the proposed framework will begin once parliament passes the new terms of engagements with the US, said an official after talks between Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides.

Nides is the second high-profile US official to visit Pakistan following last week’s talks between top military commanders of the two countries in Rawalpindi.

Nides held separate talks with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and the finance minister. He then met with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and proceeded to Lahore to call on President Asif Ali Zardari.

‘Substantive’ exchange

An American diplomat described talks between Nides and top Pakistani officials as “substantive, robust and a step in the right direction.”

In a statement read out along with Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Nides urged Pakistan to adopt a balanced approach in its review of relationship with the US.

“We believe that we can achieve a balanced approach in a relationship that respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and interests but also represents our concerns about our national security,” Nides said. “Too much is at stake for us to turn away from each other, so we must work through all of these challenges,” he added.

Prime Minister Gilani told the visiting US official that relations “must be based on mutual respect and mutual interest.”

“We can achieve our objective – peace and stability in the region and Afghan reconciliation – through greater cooperation and on the basis of mutual trust,” Gilani was quoted as saying in a statement from his office.

CSF and Nato supplies

A Pakistani official confirmed that the two sides discussed the broader parameters of a new framework covering two key issues: the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and Nato supplies.

The contours of the new framework will be discussed by the finance minister on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the official added.

The talks in Washington will decide if payments on account of CSF will continue, and what will be the formula for calculation.

Pakistan’s military has proposed abandoning the voucher-based calculation and adopt a more transparent and internationally-recognised mechanism for CSF reimbursements.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the finance minister also raised the issue of pending claims worth $2.5 billion on account of CSF, but the US official said the releases would depend on Parliament’s resolution.

The most important component of the new framework will be development charges on transportation of Nato containers.

Officials said Pakistan is expecting that roughly 80,000 to 100,000 containers would pass through Pakistan during the withdrawal period.

Both the sides also reviewed projects initiated with cooperation of the US. An official said that Nides reiterated his government’s pledge for providing $500 million to build the Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

The visiting US official also hinted at bringing the World Bank on board to finance the dam which has an estimated price tag of $11.2 billion.

Earlier, the World Bank had refused to finance the project saying it was located in a disputed territory.

Meeting with the president

Nides also called on President Zardari at the Governor House in Lahore.

The president said the democratic process may appear to be “long and noisy but should be valued for being lasting and fruitful.”

He said the government is awaiting the completion of parliamentary review process to reset bilateral ties.  Nides said the US respected the parliamentary review process and looks forward to its early completion. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM ABDUL MANAN IN LAHORE)

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • blithe
    Apr 5, 2012 - 6:30AM

    Pakistan’s military has proposed abandoning the voucher-based calculation and adopt a more transparent and internationally-recognised mechanism for CSF reimbursements.

    Wow! The mercenaries are becoming professional…

    Sorry , if what I’m saying sounds harsh .
    But the army and US have decided on modalities before
    the parliamentary outcome.

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  • blithe
    Apr 5, 2012 - 6:34AM

    I wonder why Hafiz Saeed and the injustice of putting a bounty on him wasn’t brought up.
    Oops I forget : it’s the spineless PPP Govt.

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  • blithe
    Apr 5, 2012 - 6:43AM

    They seem to be pre-empting the parlinatary outcome.

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  • AA
    Apr 5, 2012 - 6:50AM

    Opening NATO supply will set bad precedent to Army jawans who are given morale boosts using Islam but in practice top brass and parliament decide to lay waste to men killed in Salala by taking few dollars to open supply again.

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  • American Desi
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:29AM

    That’s all it takes to settle the sovereignty issue of this rather poor excuse for a country! Money!

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  • SM
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:31AM

    Release Pakistani funds first so Pakistan can think about perhaps listening to US demands.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:45AM

    When Hina Rabani Khar’s deputy goes to Washington, do they call on Pres Obama, Sec Clinton and Sec Treasury Geithner??? She is usually not given the light of day. For that reason the Indians allow only appropriate people to meet each other. No need to bend down, or crouch. Stop humbling yourself.

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  • Apr 5, 2012 - 7:46AM

    Shame on such lady holding hands with a man, this is not our culture, this is Isalmic Republic of Pakistan, if she can not follow our culture and values she would just resign from the position for a more conservative person. This act (holding hands) will not stop drone attcks and bring peace in country. Never

    http://syedowais.blogspot.com/

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  • Mubashir
    Apr 5, 2012 - 8:28AM

    Mian sahiban left conveniently yet again. Something is bound to happen in their “coincidental “absence.

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 5, 2012 - 8:31AM

    What happened to all that air about PAK honor?

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:14AM

    Slowly but definitely American arrogance is melting but still double gaming/blackmailing is on in Karachi and Gilgit including in KP.

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:19AM

    There is a clock ticking and that clock is the upcoming election in the US in November. Should the current adminstration be replaced, how the US deals with PAK will change. This will not be to PAK liking. So for PAK now is the time to deal.

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  • malatesh
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Opening NATO supply is big slap for Hafiz saed.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:35AM

    @Syed Owais Mukhtar:
    Why don’t you go …. yourself. Leave Hina Khar alone. Grow up from your warped culture abyss. Its women like Khar, Obaid-Chinoy etc., who achieve something for Pakistan. You are intimidated by these women, that’s why you have nothing positive to say. Recommend

  • Salams
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:55AM

    Good gesture. Pakistan and US are natural friends and India has always tried to butt in to sabotage that freindship with its own agenda. As long as US and Pakistan are aware and alert about India’s agenda and not let it interfere with their friendship, than both US and Pakistan will mutually benefit and prosper. Let sincere friendship and good warm handshake prevail! Long live US/Pak friendship!

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  • faraz
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:58AM

    @Syed Owais Mukhtar

    You think she is holding hands to prevent drone strikes? I think you better stick to Behishti Zewar rather than issues of foreign policy.

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  • Samana H Codipially
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:27AM

    @Syed Owais Mukhtar are you living in the dark ages shaking hands is what civilized people do in a society that respects each gender. By the looks of it it is troubling you and males that a woman is in a position of power and is able to hold her own?
    Maybe you should move to an Arab country where women are treated as second class citizens you would be more appreciated there,

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  • Thoughtful
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:29AM

    Just for clarity…Pakistan is holding the Nato withdrawal hostage. Doubt they will forget.

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  • Noor
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:32AM

    As feared, it all boils down to a voucher!
    sad

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:55AM

    @Salams:

    If PAK is a friend of the US, then the US needs no enemies.

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  • vasan
    Apr 5, 2012 - 11:09AM

    That is the end of show, gentlemen. Pak and US have in principle agreed on providing the NATO supply route. Pak govt has provided another exhaust vent for those huffing,puffing and fuming against the US. They have vented out all they can thru all the media, twitter, face book, TVs, Chat shows, rallies and what not. Now get back to business of driving the trucks and collecting the toll money. What a country and what a public.
    Episode 1 of the venting was Raymond Davis
    Episode 2 is the NATO supply route.
    More will follow depending the decibal level of the noisy anti US mafia in Pakistan.

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  • Realist
    Apr 5, 2012 - 11:20AM

    @Syed Owais Mukhtar:

    Eh dude, she is holding his hand so that we can get a better deal (more money) on opening NATO supply routes. Drone attacks and Pakistani civilian deaths are the last thing Pakistan Govt. is concerned about since all those drone strikes happen with Pakistan’s approval anyways. Or are still buying into “We object to drones strikes” chorus in Govt. press conferences?

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  • Gaurav
    Apr 5, 2012 - 11:28AM

    this was bound to happen even if some other government would have been there. Pakistan and India cannot disregard US interests which are good for people of both countries.

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  • ayesha azeem
    Apr 5, 2012 - 12:04PM

    I dont get one thing,USA says Pakistan is one of their Biggest Allies and they wana keep Good and Peaceful Relations with Pakistan but What has USA done in favour of Pakistan?
    Helped in Solving Energy Crisis?Helped in Improving our Education System?Do USA grant we pakistani Students American Student Visas?USA grants India Their Visas,immigration so Easily but not Pakistanis?Is that Called friendship?

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  • munna
    Apr 5, 2012 - 12:41PM

    @ayesha azeem:
    It is hard to grant visas easily when most terrorists seem tocome to pakistan for training.

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  • Avatar
    Apr 5, 2012 - 12:44PM

    Good for Pakistan and even better for the U.S.

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  • O.Ahmed
    Apr 5, 2012 - 1:53PM

    @malatesh:
    It is a slap for the entire country not just him.

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  • O.Ahmed
    Apr 5, 2012 - 1:57PM

    @Samana H Codipially:
    How does a woman become someone powerful and be “on her own” when she she starts treating her body just as males would do? If shaking hands with males is a sign of modernity then by that token we should all shed our clothes and become the torchbearers of modernity? Intellect and aptitude is different from becoming sexy and sensual. Hope you get the point.

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  • HASAN MEHMOOD
    Apr 5, 2012 - 4:33PM

    @faraz:

    @Syed Owais Mukhtar
    You think she is holding hands to prevent drone strikes? I think you better stick to Behishti Zewar rather than issues of foreign policy.

    Fantastic comment. I love it.

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  • Ammad Malik
    Apr 5, 2012 - 4:41PM

    @O.Ahmed

    And whom in your opinion is the bearer of such intellect and aptitude ? Would love to know your benchmark?

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  • Apr 5, 2012 - 4:52PM

    pakistan need friendship of america, need no worry of by-passing route – after all friend indded.

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  • Salams
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @Syed Owais Mukhtar – The vast majority of Pakistanis are more open minded than you think! Please try to appreciate the ‘Pak women’ intelligence, beauty and power! Handshake is good business sense of the cultured! It is all Good!!

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:16PM

    @SM:
    What funds?

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  • Hairaan
    Apr 5, 2012 - 11:30PM

    @Ammad Malik:
    Just for your information the benchmark you are asking for is the Quran, Sunnah and life style of the companions. You and other liberals may not necessarily agree with this.

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  • Tony C.
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:18AM

    @O.Ahmed:
    Dear Ohmed,
    If your body is anything like your brain do everybody a favor and do not undress. It could well be a dreadful sight.

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  • Ayesha Khan
    Apr 6, 2012 - 10:25AM

    @syed baqar ahsan: “Slowly but definitely American arrogance is melting”

    How did you reach that conclusion? You said they must apologize. Have they apologized? No. You said they must stop drones. Have they stopped drones? No. YEs if you want a litle more money via taxes they are willing to negotiate.

    Also as has been pointed out by someone else. It is inconceivable in India that a US Undersecretary would be given an audience with our foreign minister, finance minister and Prime Minister. It is Pakistan that is bending not US.

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  • Ammad Malik
    Apr 6, 2012 - 11:58AM

    @Hairaan

    I suggest you read my comment and the comment I was responding to carefully. Don’t judge other people piety, that’s what I learn from Quran and Sunnah. And yeah, don’t be afraid to use your real name.

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