Top leadership considers reopening Nato routes

Top civilian and military leadership huddled here on Friday evening to decide how they should respond to fresh signals emerging from Washington suggesting some flexibility on the US’ new position on coming up with ‘something similar to an apology’.

By Afzal Khan

Published: Sun 17 Jun 2012, 1:30 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:44 AM

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt-Gen. Zaheerul Islam, among others, attended meeting.

Media reports citing Presidency sources said the leadership is contemplating reopening supply routes for Nato forces in Afghanistan after the US appeared to be softening its stance on offering an apology for the attacks on border posts. Insiders said that there were anticipations of a breakthrough within weeks.

The meeting took place on the heels of an interaction between Khar and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, on the sidelines of a conference in Kabul. It held threadbare discussion on different aspects of Pakistan-US relations, focusing particularly on the reopening of Nato supply routes. Participants of the meeting were told that the US administration had begun showing some flexibility over an apology.

“The matter is likely to be sorted out soon. A breakthrough is what we expect in weeks to come,” an official said.

However, the US was ready to bear the cost of repairing broken and damaged roads and highways used by thousands of Nato trucks before the routes’ closure, the official said. In recent weeks, media reports from Washington have suggested that Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman was working overtime to convince US administration officials to offer an apology for last year’s Salala attack — a move likely to provide some face-saving for Islamabad.

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