WASHINGTON: Pentagon spokesperson George Little said on Monday that the US believe that they can get a ‘yes’ from Pakistan on re-opening the Nato supply routes.
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing at the Pentagon, he said, “we hope that day comes sooner than later.” Little added that the US looks forward to having their negotiators return to Islamabad to “seal the deal” at some point in the near future.
The Pentagon spokesperson’s remarks come a day after the announcement that the US was pulling out its negotiating team from Pakistan without reaching a deal on the re-opening the supply routes.
The routes have been closed since November, 2011, after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by ‘friendly fire’ of Nato forces in Salala.
“We are continuing our dialogue,” reiterated Little, “we haven’t cut off negotiations altogether.”
In response to a question, Little made it clear that the Pakistan routes were just one of the many that the US used and downplayed their importance suggesting they were economical rather than vital.
He said that they believed they could adequately supply Nato troops in Afghanistan and the Afghan National Security Forces through the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), however it was costlier, the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs) on the other hand were less expensive, “The GLOCs are important logistically and in terms of cost.”
Little did not respond directly to questions about the Pakistani demand for an apology over the Salala incident, but reiterated their earlier statements about expressing deep regret for the episode.
The Pentagon spokesperson said that they have reached an agreement on a range of technical issues with Pakistan. “Its time to move forward in this relationship.”
Meanwhile Captain John F. Kirby at the Pentagon said that it was in the hands of Pakistan’s political leadership to make the decisions on where “they want to go strategically on this.”