NATO supply routes: US negotiators leave empty-handed

Published: June 12, 2012
"I believe that some of the team left over the weekend and the remainder of the team will leave shortly," said Pentagon.  PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

"I believe that some of the team left over the weekend and the remainder of the team will leave shortly," said Pentagon. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


Amid fresh signs of plummeting relations between Washington and Islamabad, the United States pulled out negotiators from Pakistan on Monday after talks failed to produce an agreement on reopening vital Nato supply routes into Afghanistan.

However, Commander Bill Speaks, a US Department of Defence spokesperson, told The Express Tribune that the negotiating team had completed technical consultations with Pakistan while citing it as the reason for the negotiators to return home.

“The US is ready to send officials back to Islamabad when the Pakistan government is ready to conclude the agreement, and the chargé d’affaires remains in place to continue working on the process,” Speaks said, adding that the goal for the US was to finalise an agreement as soon as possible.

The team of negotiators had been in Pakistan for about six weeks as US officials had believed they were close to a deal with Islamabad to lift the blockade on Nato convoys.

On the other hand, Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters that the team was returning as no breakthrough was imminent, adding that there was no scheduled date for a resumption of the negotiations.

“The decision was reached to bring the team home for a short period of time,” Little told reporters.

The US, however, would continue to maintain a ‘dialogue’ with Pakistan and the departure of the expert negotiating team did not mean Washington had given up discussions with Islamabad or that the pullout had been imposed on them, he said.

“That’s not to be taken as a sign of our unwillingness to continue the dialogue with Pakistanis on this issue,” he said, adding that the negotiators are “prepared to return at any moment.” Members of the negotiating team started to leave over the weekend, Little said.

‘No breakdown in talks’

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office pointed out that the officials had left Pakistan after completing technical consultations. “I don’t see this as a breakdown in the relationship,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Moazam Ali Khan.

In Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman also played down the hype surrounding the US pullout.

“I don’t really see it as an institutional pullout,” Sherry said. Talking to The Express Tribune, she went on to add that Nato supply routes were not closed to leverage a price advantage, adding that routes had not been closed “in a fit of pique or on impulse”.

 ‘Political deadlock’

Officials familiar with the development said the two sides have almost worked out technical details on the resumption of Nato supply lines but the deal could not be finalised due to political issues, including the US refusal to offer an explicit apology for the Salala raid and halt drone strikes.

“Unless the US offers something that resembles an apology, it is very difficult for Pakistan to reopen Nato supplies,” said an official familiar with the development.

“We want to have a package deal and the issue of apology is still included … there will be no compromise on it,” the official added.

Diplomatic sources told The Express Tribune that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is expected to meet a senior US official this week on the sidelines of a regional conference on Afghanistan in Kabul.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Go to Hell
    Jun 12, 2012 - 5:38AM

    A junior most official will mumble some words similar to an apology and we will be ok with drone attacks also………If our Govt./Military allows drone attacks I wish they would fire one more missile like Salala


  • Cautious
    Jun 12, 2012 - 5:51AM

    Pulling the negotiating team out after they have already inked a deal on the Northern Route would send a clear message to most people. It’s becoming evident that the USA has “moved on” and isn’t going to rely on Pakistan for anything – your not going to get your apology – not going to get your $5,000 truck ransom – and based on the proviso’s being attached to Pakistan funding bills your probably not going to receive the Billions that your politicians and military are expecting. The real question worth pondering is whether the American’s are upset enough to start to consider you as enemy – they certainly no longer consider you as an ally.


  • Ashraf P
    Jun 12, 2012 - 6:15AM

    I think there will be peace in the long run as a result of the estranged relationship between Pakistan and the US.


  • ALi
    Jun 12, 2012 - 6:28AM


    RIP Pakistan!

    Pakistanis should not forget that they are not Iran. We don’t have that level of Faith, Courage & Patriotism.


  • Jun 12, 2012 - 6:44AM

    Great! No deal means we don’t have to give the Pakistani military any more money. Let them collect taxes from Pakistanis instead.


  • EncEe
    Jun 12, 2012 - 7:27AM

    wow really Pakistani will pay TAXES ? how ? money or bullet ?


  • adam
    Jun 12, 2012 - 7:29AM

    @solomon not bad idea collecting tax but u have to pay what we spend already i mean 3 billion . that is our money


  • Ch Allah Daad
    Jun 12, 2012 - 7:41AM

    @ Ali, We have our share of mistakes but Iran is not an ideal country. What have they achieved with trillions of dollars earned from oil sales? Still their best technology revolves around Pista and Carpets.


  • Ali
    Jun 12, 2012 - 7:47AM

    NATO needs to pay its bills on time.


  • SM
    Jun 12, 2012 - 7:56AM

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    The Americans are the most opportunistic of all – they think they give us a few billion and we are their slaves for life.

    Their war supplies have torn up our already dilapidated road system and we have lost over 3000 men in a war for which we can expect no reimbursement for the wear and tear of our equipment and the precious lives of Pakistani sepoys.


  • Jun 12, 2012 - 8:14AM

    Do anyone is the Pakistani FO have simple analytical abilities?

    Its an election year in the US, Pakistan is the most hated country and you expect the President who is running for a second term to apologize to Pakistan, which has been repeatedly exposed in the US media as having double crossed the US and supporting the insurgents?

    Pakistan has quite foolishly created this deadlock. Only if had accepted US’s “regret” all this wouldn’t have taken place.

    On another note, I am truly happy that this relationship’s transactional nature has been so exposed. US support to Pakistan was the only thing which allowed it to punch above its weight during the cold war. Now, it will find its rightful place among the comity of nations.


  • WHAT?
    Jun 12, 2012 - 8:15AM


    Moved on? really? You don’t have to answer this right now. I will wait for your comment when the negotiating team will take another 20 hour flight and come back for negotiations. Make sure that shows a slight embarrassment not because US had not actually moved on this time but because your analysis is dominant by your hatred rather than objectivity.

    I suggest you stop worrying about Pakistan and start considering paying your credit card bills & mortgage debts on time.



  • Hammad
    Jun 12, 2012 - 8:26AM

    @ Cautius: Go to northern, western or whatever route you need. You don’t want to pay Pakistan 5000$ and talk as if you are going to get free passage through northern route. A country which has an ally like US needs no further enemies. I think Pakistan will be much better place without the presence and ‘assistance’ of Americans. World peace will remain a dream till this monster of a country called US is not reigned in.


  • Ex-Diplomat
    Jun 12, 2012 - 8:43AM

    and most importantly OIL


  • Hassan
    Jun 12, 2012 - 8:53AM


    Thank god they are not considering us as an ally. Because we have never considered them as ally. They have never been an ally.


    Pakistan can very well survive without your money. Your money is not spent on Pakistan. Its in the hands of politicians. And more than half of the money that US sends is spent back on US in forms of US trainings and consultations fees.


    If you have no faith it doesn’t mean others have no faith as well.


  • Ahmed
    Jun 12, 2012 - 10:44AM


    You are forgetting one thing. Central States have not allowed movement of Lethal Weapons yet. They are still dependent upon Pakistan. However, they are trying to negotiate the terms and moreover, they do not need Pakistani route untill end of 2012 when they would be pulling out from Afghanistan. However, it is not in intrest of Pakistan to allow them the route and and I do not think that Central Asian states would allow this.


  • nak
    Jun 12, 2012 - 10:45AM

    Oh thanks, now kindly others can also leave us.


  • Sam
    Jun 12, 2012 - 11:21AM

    The US negotiators know that it is not a good idea to be around when B1s, B2s, B52s are revving up their engines destined on a flight path to Pakistan. Maybe it is time to see Richard Armitage’s warning being implemented. Forget about roads having excessive wear and tear… there probably may be no more roads, just like the stone ages.


  • Wonderful
    Jun 12, 2012 - 11:31AM

    I think it is time for Pakistan to sever all diplomatic relations and recall its Ambassadors. No more USA in Pakistan.


  • Jun 12, 2012 - 12:10PM

    unemployment at its zenith, in this pure land – what will happen thousands connected with this busniess – will some body come to their rescue?


  • Jun 12, 2012 - 12:21PM

    Quite interesting situation , US can not say sorry coz it is election year ,Pakistan can not backout because it is any time election year here too…
    I am surprised to see that our hungry politicions and army ppl not worried about the money any more,as US tried so many aid cutting tricks …i think they found another source …who wants US out of afganistan most badly? …Pakistan? No sir China and iran !


  • Polpot
    Jun 12, 2012 - 12:54PM

    “NATO supply routes: US negotiators leave empty-handed”
    The Pakistani team also left empty handed !


  • PoorRupee
    Jun 12, 2012 - 2:16PM

    Lets not forget, the Pakistani side is the side that came empty handed, Pakistan is playing with unimaginable fire during a U.S. election year. Wars stimulate economies and win elections. Don’t tempt a U.S. president 6 months before one. He may just draw up contingency plans.


  • Phannay Khan
    Jun 12, 2012 - 3:38PM

    @Cautious: Doesn’t matter who they consider enemy or not. They considered enemy ?TALIBAN” too and now they are forced to negotiate with them. Same thing in Iraq and so on. No one care about that anymore. Did they fixed anything in Iraq and Afghanistan in 10 years of long war? Answer is ZERO. So, world is moving on them as well.It’s not that they are the only one who are moving on. It’s better that they move on now. Will be better for the Region. And Indians should move on too. Instead of sorting out what will happen IF US will leave Afghanistan, You Can go and take care of 700 Millions who are living below poverty line. Poking nose everywhere where you are neither required nor desired just will bring shame and nothing more. Nation dislike you equally. So get a life.


  • 1stResponder
    Jun 12, 2012 - 7:37PM

    i dont know what possible pak interest it serves to have an alliance with the usa/nato. pak gets aid to fight its terrorists, but the terrorist problem is probably created and worsened by allowing western military to operate independently on pak soil. surely any american would admit that the usa would never allow a foreign military to operate independently and bomb on usa soil, so why are they incensed that pak would have the exact same attitude?
    wouldnt it be more to pak’s advantage to ally with countries in its own neighborhood, esp china and russia?
    the usa is too bullyish. they expect every country to serve the usa’s interests, and they attempt to buy or force other countries to cooperate with them. who needs ‘friends’ who simply want to use you to their advantage regardless of your own needs?


  • zubair
    Jun 12, 2012 - 9:56PM

    To set things on the right course, their is an important need for both Pakistan and US to understand each others current political situation.As both the countries are witnessing an election year.The chances of an US apology by President Barak obama are very low because he has already offered two apologies in quick succession the first in latin America and other ion the burring on quran by US forces in Afghanistan. Moving towards election obama would not want to look like a apology President. The issue of DRONE in pakistan is taken as a violation of its sovereignty and for Americans drone is the most lethal weapon used in war against terrorism. Drone has been very successful in dismantling the al Qayda network.FOR drones both countries can have a base inside Pakistan runned by both the ISI and CIA. in combined effort to eradicate the militants. AN important thing to note here is that it was a drone strike which took out Bait ullah mehsud Pakistan’s no 1 enemy. The nato supply route has been closed by pakistani goverenment for the past six months or more. Pakistani officials should understand the closure of the route will effect its relations with not only America but even other western powers.To solve this issue America should offer an apology to Pakistan over the salalah incident as the already weak and unfamous pakistani goverenment can not pose it self as a American inclined gov as their is alot of anti american sentiment in Pakistan. THe apology can come from the secretary of states. SHAKeel afridi should be viewed in the same context as the Americans view JONATHAN POLLARD.


  • Ali
    Jun 12, 2012 - 11:09PM

    @Ch Allah Daad:
    Iran did not hacked into a US drone and landed it on their soil with carpets & pistachios. Think before writing.


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