ISLAMABAD: Negotiations over the resumption of Nato supplies finally seem to be picking up pace – and this week is going to be crucial, according to sources. Resumption of supplies may be announced any time this week.
Sources add that Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington Sherry Rehman is arriving in Islamabad today (Monday), while Isaf commander has already arrived in Islamabad – for the second time this week. Gen Allen reportedly held meetings with both Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and army chief Gen Parvez Kayani. Military experts from both sides were also present at the meeting.
While Pakistan has been hinting at opening supply lines for some time, a formal announcement was hinging on an ‘acceptable’ apology from the US over the Salala attacks. While this is likely to come forth this week, according to sources, it is not going to come from the highest ranks.
They also said a meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Defence is to be held this week, to discuss the Nato supplies issue. Ambassador Rehman is notably being called back to Islamabad for the third in connection with the opening of supply routes.
The sources added that Pakistan and the US have already agreed upon technical and monitory issues regarding resumption of supplies through land routes. However, some aspects, which remain undecided, are to be finalised at the ‘highest-level of decision making’.
Hillary congratulates PM
Against the backdrop of this rapid thaw in Pak-US relations, US Foreign Secretary Hilary Clinton called Premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Sunday and congratulated him on his newly-attained office, and extended her good wishes to President Asif Ali Zardari.
According to media reports, Hilary expressed her hopes that relations with Pakistan would strengthen during Prime Minister Ashraf’s tenure. She pointed out that the two countries are allies in the ‘War on Terror’.
Premier Ashraf said that Pakistan was determined to eradicate terrorism.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN WASHINGTON)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2012.
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