NATO invites Pakistan to Chicago summit

Zardari says will consider invitation in light of Parliament's guidelines and advice of the government.

Afp/Web Desk May 15, 2012

ISLAMABAD: NATO has invited President Asif Ali Zardari to next week's summit in Chicago, a presidential spokesperson told AFP on Tuesday.

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had called Zardari in the afternoon to invite him to the summit.

Spokesperson to the President, Farhatullah Babar said that the invitation was unconditional and not linked to the reopening of ground lines of communication for Nato or to any other issues.

Zardari said that he would consider the invitation in light of the guidelines of the Parliament and the advice of the government. He said that the decision will be communicated to Nato later.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Pakistan had "an important role" to play in the future of Afghanistan, which will be the focus of the second day of the summit.

"We're working very closely with Pakistan to allow the opening of the transit line because obviously this is in everybody's interest," she said.

The defence committee of cabinet is to convene at around 1430 GMT, followed by a cabinet meeting on Wednesday which is widely expected to decide to reopen overland NATO supply lines into Afghanistan, closed since November.

Sources familiar with the discussions told AFP the government had effectively decided to end the blockade, probably by the beginning of next week.

Both sides had found "broad agreement" on logistics for the fuel and other non-lethal supplies that would go overland through Pakistan to Afghanistan, one source said.

"The meetings will indicate that the decision has the backing of all the stakeholders," the source told AFP.

"This should minimise the prospect for militant groups to exploit the situation in the hope that they'll get the backing of the military establishment."

Pakistan previously negotiated a fee of $160 per 40-foot container and is now looking to secure anywhere from $320 to $500, although the figure has yet to be agreed, one source told AFP.

The United States has also guaranteed payment of at least $1.1 billion should the borders reopen, as compensation for fighting militants, the source added.

Mir Mohammad Yousuf Shahwani, chairman of the All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association, told AFP he had been informed by a senior official in the petroleum ministry that Pakistan would reopen the supply line within days.

The invitation comes a day after Foreign Minister Khar had stated that Pakistan wanted to ‘move beyond’ the Salala incident as it had made its point by keeping the Nato routes shut for almost six months.

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had said earlier this week that Pakistan’s participation in the summit in Chicago, scheduled for May 20-21, hinges on its decision on the supply route for the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan.

Both Khar and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had made it clear on Monday that the government is ready to drop its insistence on a formal US apology over the killing of two dozen Pakistani troops in the airstrikes on border posts in Salala, Mohmand Agency.

Nato supply routes have been closed for over six months in response to a US attack on a check post that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

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COMMENTS (49)

Shanawar Hashmi | 8 years ago | Reply | Recommend

@Faraz: Well said. Agree 100%.

abdul karim | 8 years ago | Reply | Recommend

do we have any other choice ,r/we superpower of the world no we depend on 50 countries in NATO , for exporting r/goods.time is not r/side and we r/not so strong to fight w/them,so wait for rite time and condition.do u/want to stop nato supplies for that we have to be strong country but we r/not ,even INDIA back down from IRAN for oil suppies.we they back down they know this not the right time and condictuon to India to void US ,to gang some thing u/have loss some thing,watch for that India will ask some thing big for there country .and what r/leaders gonna ask ,they will ask for them some more free trades.

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