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Pak-US talks on NATO supplies face stalemate

07 June, 2012

ISLAMABAD: US talks pertaining to reopening NATO supplies and review of ties between the two countries has slipped into a deadlock over three important issues, including rate for charging a truck crossing the supply into Afghanistan.

Sources in the Foreign Ministry confided to our sources on Wednesday that as a matter of fact the talks between the two countries were facing stalemate, though, no official publicly talked about the deadlock.

When asked for his version over the deadlock, Foreign Office's spokesman Moazzam Khan said negotiations between Pakistan and the US continued while the two countries wanted to move the talks in positive direction.

To a question as to what decision was made so far as a result of talks, he said that the two countries considered each other's role important in the region and would finally reach some agreement through negotiations.

Four inter-related subjects namely drone attacks, rate of charges of NATO supply, border's coordination mechanism, apology by US over Salala incident were discussed between the US and Pakistan.

Sources said that stalemate between the negotiating teams of the two countries is prevailing over the questions of drone strikes, apology over Salala and rate of charging a truck carrying NATO supply to Afghanistan. The teams at technical level are not agreeing to each other's demand.

On charges the US in principle was agreed to raise the fare per truck of NATO supplies, but it is not accepting Pakistan demands nor is coming up with a clear rate to be acceptable to Islamabad, they said further.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had already rejected Pakistan's demand, saying it would be impossible for US to pay $5,000 for each truck, given the economic challenges his country was facing.

The official sources said that on apology over the incident of Salala in which US-led NATO strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers the deadlock was apparent as in line with parliamentary recommendations Pakistan had repeatedly demanded it and now Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar reiterated that seeking apology is essential for reopening the supplies. Sources also said, "But top US officials time and again said that apology is not possible now." The negotiating team from the US does discuss it but fails to fulfil Pakistani demand, they said.

On drone attacks, the US side was not accepting Pakistani side's stance that it was counterproductive and putting 'war on terror' strategically at disadvantages. Pakistan is not ready to accept that the US-controlled drone strikes were essential against terrorists and considers the action as illegal and against its sovereignty, sources said.

Panetta made it clear on Wednesday while on visit to India that drone attacks would continue. Panetta also dismissed suggestions that the strikes could violate Pakistan's sovereignty.

End.

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