WASHINGTON, May 14 : The United States on Monday reported “considerable” progress in Washington-Islamabad talks towards reopening of key Pakistani routes for transportation of NATO supplies into landlocked Afghanistan.
In their comments, the State Department and Pentagon spokespersons saw hope in revival of cooperation with Pakistan, a week ahead of NATO summit in Chicago, where the Obama Administration wants to show progress in the Afghan war as the Western alliance seeks to meet the 2014 combat troops withdrawal deadline
“Our team is still in Islamabad working on the land route issue. My understanding this morning is that they have made considerable progress but they are still working,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
The land routes were closed by Islamabad in the wake of killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a NATO war planes attacks on Salala border posts.
Nuland’s remarks at the briefing came as top Pakistan and American military commanders concluded two days of deliberations on counterterrorism cooperation, also engaging Kabul in three-way talks.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani and American teams continued their talks in Islamabad.
“They are not yet finished with the Pakistanis,” Nuland said
“But we’re having a full review with the government of Pakistan on how this transit system works and all of the issues are on the table in that context,” she added.
In a clearest sign yet on Islamabad’s willingness to allow resumption of Khyber and Chaman border routes, Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar indicated that Pakistan and the United States should move on in their relationship, almost six months after the closure of the Afghan border routes
The State Department welcomed the Pakistani foreign minister’s remarks.
At the Pentagon, Press Secretary George Little said the two countries have not yet concluded an agreement on reopening of the ground lines of communication but expressed the hope that the issue would be resolved soon.
No agreement has been reached, but we do hope that this issue is resolved soon,” the Pentagon spokesman said.
The counterterrorism cooperation was discussed by the two sides when General John Allen, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, met with Pakistani army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in Rawalpindi last week.
”I think the recent discussions with the Pakistanis have been very productive. They have been candid and both sides understand…the major challenges that we both confront,” he said in remarks, reported by the media.
“But the discussions showed…We believe that we are reaching the point of greater equilibrium as we move ahead with our relationship with the Pakistanis,” Little said.
He said “It remains very important to us to reopen the ground lines of communication,” Little noted.
Sources: MGCT, State Department, Pentagon
- US says American team in Pakistan working on supply routes issue (myglobalcommunitytoday.wordpress.com)
- Pakistani suggests NATO supplies should resume (hosted.ap.org)
- US says re-opening of vital supply routes will be in Pakistan’s interest (myglobalcommunitytoday.wordpress.com)
- Pakistan ‘to move on’ over NATO supply routes (vancouverdesi.com)
- US, Pakistan make ‘considerable progress’ on Nato route (dawn.com)