‘No new agreement on NATO supplies’

US diplomat says there is no point in signing a fresh agreement.


Peer Muhammad July 07, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Deputy Chief of the Mission of United States Embassy Richard E Hoagland said on Friday that no new agreement had been signed on the reopening of Nato supply routes through Pakistan and neither was one going to be signed in the future.


Speaking to the media after an orientation session for Fulbright scholars, the US diplomat said that the supply route was not only essential for Nato countries but also crucial for Afghanistan.

Hoagland added that it was the outcome of several months’ long intensive negotiations between the two countries and would strengthen trust and rebuild stalled relations.

“There is no need to sign a new agreement as we have resumed our relations from the point where we had left in November last year,” Hoagland said. Responding to a question about criticism against the Obama administration in the US media for tendering an apology over the Salala attack, the diplomat said that since it was election year in the United States, media hype was normal.

When asked whether the US had taken up the issue of Dr Shakil Afridi and the alleged harassment of US diplomats at the hands of Pakistani security officials with Pakistani authorities, he replied that such things were being discussed regularly.

Pakistan to scan all Nato containers

All containers passing through Pakistan to supply Nato troops in Afghanistan are to be scanned to ensure they do not contain ammunition and weapons, customs officials said on Friday. A number of trucks have already crossed into Afghanistan, but the vast majority is still at the Karachi port, where they have stood idle for the past seven months.

Officials in Karachi said there would be thorough checks to ensure the convoys conformed to parliamentary guidelines barring the transport of lethal supplies.“We scanned the containers randomly in the past, but now every container will be duly scanned,” Karachi customs spokesman Qamar Thalho said. He said any item “not mentioned in the agreements between Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Nato” could be seized.

An official requesting anonymity said the move was intended to stymie opposition parties and religious groups – who have criticised the resumption of supplies. (Additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2012.

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