US official in Islamabad for border blockade talks

US assistant defence secretary arrives in fresh attempt to bring end to 6-month blockade on NATO supplies.

Afp June 09, 2012

ISLAMABAD: US assistant defence secretary Peter Lavoy has arrived in Islamabad in a fresh attempt to bring an end a six-month blockade on NATO supplies crossing into Afghanistan, officials said Saturday.

Lavoy's visit comes days after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Pakistan that the United States was running out of patience over Islamabad's refusal to do more to eliminate safe havens for insurgents.

"The US assistant defence secretary arrived here Friday to meet with a broad spectrum of people," acting US embassy spokesman Robert Raines told AFP.

"He will be discussing bilateral issues with the officials," he said without elaborating on the agenda for the two-day visit.

A Pakistani government official told AFP ahead of the trip that "talks will focus on re-opening the NATO supply route, ways to promote border coordination and settle the issue of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF)".

Pakistan-US relations hit a new low six months ago when US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border. Islamabad responded by imposing a blockade on NATO supplies crossing overland into Afghanistan.

Analysts believe there is little chance of a breakthrough during Lavoy's trip.

"He will try and persuade Pakistan to re-open the route but it seems Pakistan wants to play tough at this stage," analyst Hasan Askari told AFP.

"I am not very hopeful that the US and Pakistan will agree to re-open the route in the near future despite the fact that Washington wants a middle way solution to the issue."

Askari said Panetta's strong remarks, which came after talks with Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak on Thursday, were designed to put pressure on Pakistan.

Panetta singled out the Haqqani network, a Taliban and al Qaeda-linked faction that has bases in Pakistan's tribal district of North Waziristan and which has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks of the 10-year war in Afghanistan.


A.S.Ahamed Farooq | 9 years ago | Reply

Peter Lavoy,the Assistant Defence Secretary of the US is coming to Pakistan to make a fresh attempt to persuade Pakistan to re open the NATO supply routes.Whether he would succeed is questionable owing to the fact that Obama having refused to apologize for the killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers and thereby affronting Pakistan,Panetta,the Defence Secretary of the US, has further muddied the waters by warning Pakistan that the US patience is running out over Pakistan as Pakistan is not doing enough to dislodge the Haqqani network from the tribal regions of Pakistan.These outlandish gestures have further offended Pakistani authorities finding a solution to the NATO supply routes more complicated The US may be a Super power but Pakistan is a proud nation that has always resisted caving into pressure.America has to be more conciliatory and reasonable in its approach to resolve the issues with Pakistan.

Maria | 9 years ago | Reply

@Ali tanoli: When NATO doesn't have enough money to bail out the bankrupt economies of Southern Europe why do they want to spend 5 x as much money transporting goods through Central Asia and Russia? I think it is more about bluffing and trying to make Pakistan use its roads for free.Just because Musharraf didn't have any sense to charge fair market rates for transport for over 9 years and let the roads of Pak get destroyed is no reason why the current government can't argue for a more equitable deal.

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