Pakistan acknowledges NATO blockade 'impinges' US relations

By AFP
Published: July 3, 2012
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Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf chairing the DCC meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday. PHOTO: PID

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf chairing the DCC meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday. PHOTO: PID

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf chairing the DCC meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday. PHOTO: PID Official says some progress has been made on the issue.  PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Tuesday acknowledged that continuing a seven-month blockade on NATO supplies travelling overland into Afghanistan would “impinge” relations with the United States.

Ashraf made the remarks to Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders, but his office stopped short of announcing whether the meeting had reached any decision on ending the blockade.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan is committed to working with the international community to counter terrorism both at the regional and global levels and that Pakistan has been cooperating with the international community on the principles of mutual respect, trust and interest.

The meeting of Pakistan’s defence committee of the cabinet, chaired by the new prime minister, got underway after officials on both sides said “progress” had been made in crafting a deal to reopen the border.

The prime minister’s office confirmed the meeting was underway. A senior Pakistani government official told AFP the main agenda items were reopening the Nato supply routes and the security situation.

The defence committee groups together the most senior cabinet ministers and military commanders. Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, and the head of the ISI intelligence agency, Zaheerul Islam, were among those present.

A deal on reopening of Nato supplies would help repair Pakistani-US relations, which are at their worst since the 9/11 attacks and still reeling from the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011.

“You may say some progress has been made, that is why the prime minister has convened the DCC,” a Pakistani official told AFP before the meeting.

But he refused to comment on press reports that a draft understanding had been reached between Pakistan and the United States.

A US official confirmed only that talks were “progressing” on reopening the ground lines of communication (GLOCs) shut on November 26 after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border.

Tuesday’s meeting comes one day after US Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides and the US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, held talks in Islamabad.

It was Allen’s second visit in six days.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also telephoned Prime Minister Ashraf over the weekend, fanning speculation that a deal could be imminent.

But a similar flurry of speculation and a defence committee meeting in May ended in stalemate.

Islamabad has demanded a formal apology for the deaths of its border troops. A US and Nato investigation said the killings were the result of mistakes made on both sides.

Sources familiar with the talks say transit fees for the vehicles is one of the main sticking points.

Islamabad is looking to more than double the payments, which could earn the country up to $1 million a day.

In Washington, the US State Department confirmed only on Monday that talks were ongoing.

“As you know, we’ve been working through a range of issues with Pakistan over the last few months, including towards working on reopening of the GLOCs,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

“That work continues. We don’t have anything in particular to announce.”

The United States is also understood to have guaranteed payment of at least $1.1 billion should the borders reopen, as compensation for fighting militants, although Pakistan believes it is owed far more, the source added.

Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry. Pervez Elahi, Minister for Defence Production Sardar Bahadur Ahmed Sihar, Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Senior Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik, Chairman JCSC General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of  Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Acting Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Tanveer Faiz, Director General ISI Lt. Gen. M. Zaheerul Islam, Director General IB Aftab Sultan and seniors officials are participating in the meeting.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • mir
    Jul 3, 2012 - 9:57PM

    PPP is only good for bringing pressure on oneself.

    Recommend

  • Wtf?
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:10PM

    Opening of supply lines is against peace

    The people have made their opposition very clearRecommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:20PM

    Raja Pervez Ashraf cannot be saved to remain Prime Minister in the office.

    It entirely depends on the Supreme Court.

    How long the counter terrorism policy will continue at global level and more particularly with the US, when thousands of Pakistanis have been killed due to siding with the policies with US.

    Is there any limit or not?

    As far as terrorism within Pakistan is concerned, our Army and Security Agencies are quite capable to handle and eliminate terrorists from the country.

    We don’t need any more support from US which may kill more innocent people of Pakistan.

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  • Wtf?
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:37PM

    The Supreme Court must end this if none of the so-called political parties are

    This is creating unrest and instability

    The people reject this

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  • NY, NY
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:42PM

    Only one word: DISASTER.

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  • munnabhai
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:57PM

    @Wtf?:
    People know little about the long-term effects… unless they want to become the South Asian North Korea.

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  • bangash
    Jul 3, 2012 - 11:12PM

    This was not known to establishment before November 2011 ?

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  • Vigilant
    Jul 3, 2012 - 11:14PM

    Well; After the decision of reopening NATO supply ground lines…..All the high ups of both countries to clarify or communicate all the CONDITIONS/Commitments on the bases of which this decision is going possible…..Hence for the future both the Nations i.e. Pakistan and US along with NATO Allied countries understand and even communicate to the UN security council too.

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  • gp65
    Jul 3, 2012 - 11:59PM

    @Vigilant: “Well; After the decision of reopening NATO supply ground lines…..All the high ups of both countries to clarify or communicate all the CONDITIONS/Commitments on the bases of which this decision is going possible…..Hence for the future both the Nations i.e. Pakistan and US along with NATO Allied countries understand and even communicate to the UN security council too.”

    It looks like 100% of US conditions were met and 0% f Pakistani conditions were met. Specifically
    1) Regrets and condolence were expressed (sorry for the death) but no unconditional apology was offered. Specifically the statement says that mistakes on both sides were acknowledged which makes this neither an apology nor unconditional.
    2) No commitment to stop drones
    3) No transit fees will be provided (PAkistan had asked for $5000 per truck).
    4) Coaliation support was stopped because Pakistan chose not to act as an ally. Now that Pak is becoming an ally once again CSF will be paid. HEre too the amount is going to be what the US thinks it owes Pakistan, not the inflated number that Pakistan had billed earlier.

    A complete surrender by the Pakistan negotiating team. By the way I do not think they did a wrong thing. Pakistan was in no position to bear the economic and security impact of alienating US any further. So this reversal is in Pakistan’s national interests.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 4, 2012 - 1:12AM

    Whose decision was this?

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 4, 2012 - 1:40AM

    This is so such a sad lot of people ! They really need help !
    Trust me for a Nation that claims to be major power too !

    Recommend

  • Jeffmahagaonvi
    Jul 4, 2012 - 1:45AM

    A deal on reopning of NATO supply route has been reached.
    It is a right and positive decision. We want peace & development.
    Live with love – Let democracy work.

    Recommend

  • H
    Jul 4, 2012 - 1:45AM

    ET Mod, please google what “WTF?” means. Allowing someone with a moniker of “WTF?” to continue posting on this website would reflect poorly on a mainstream newspaper. (I am just pointing this out as a well wisher of ET.)

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Jul 4, 2012 - 1:49AM

    It’s still too early for the U.S. to breathe a sigh of relief, as Washington doesn’t seem to trust Pakistan and believes it whips up anti-Americanism at home to achieve regional objectives. The Pakistan Taliban had promptly threatened to attack the convoys,

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  • si
    Jul 4, 2012 - 1:50AM

    What a shame! A complete surrender by Pakistan!

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  • H
    Jul 4, 2012 - 1:58AM

    Hey guys, some of you it seems missed the memo that the “party” is over now. Please do us a favor and move on. We don’t want our country to recede further into shambles.

    Recommend

  • haris
    Jul 4, 2012 - 3:00AM

    What is the apology where have they apologized. They even havent realized their mistake they have said that the fault is from both end? Seriously? Is this the worth of lives of innocent Pakistani soldiers? What are you trying to make us our leaders we are bad people i know but sont make us shameless we Muslims are selfless people please let us stay that way

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 4, 2012 - 11:58AM

    @haris:
    I agree with you here and they are giving the severe punishment to the nation that why did the nation elect them?

    Recommend

  • aviratam
    Jul 4, 2012 - 5:39PM

    Both the US and Pakistan have acted maturely. For Pakistan, it was a necessary step before going to the IMF. Ms. Clinton did not say anything that the US has not said before. But let’s move on.

    Recommend

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