CHICAGO: White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said on Saturday that the US did not expect an agreement on the reopening of Nato supply routes through Pakistan to be completed over the weekend while the NATO Summit 2012 takes place.
With Nato extending an invitation to Pakistan to attend the meeting earlier in the week, and slew of ‘politically positive’ statements coming from Islamabad, it was expected that perhaps a deal would be struck before the Chicago moot got underway on Sunday.
However, as Rhodes travelled to Chicago, he told reporters that that there was no bilateral meeting scheduled between President Zardari and President Obama. He added that the only bilateral meeting the US President has scheduled is with the Afghan president Hamid Karzai. The frost between US and its chief ally in the War on Terror continues, for now.
According to a pool report, Rhodes said that negotiations for reopening the supply lines are ongoing. “We believe this is going to be resolved. We expect that to take some time. Based on the statements they’ve made, the negotiations going on, we believe it’s going to be accomplished. We’re not anticipating necessarily closing out those negotiations this weekend.”
On Friday, Pakistan had allowed four containers carrying office supplies for the US embassy in Kabul to cross over from Pakistan, onto the Afghan side of the Durand Line. This was the first consignment to make it through in six months after Pakistan had shut borders with Afghanistan after Nato airstrikes targeted a Pakistan check post and killed 24 soldiers with ‘friendly fire’.