Ties with Nato, US on crossroads: PM Gilani

Ties with Nato, US on crossroads: PM Gilani

Islamabad : Pakistan | May 16, 2012 at 5:14 AM PDT
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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (C) flanked by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet is discussing the lifting of the blockade on NATO supply routes, the Chicago summit and the budget in Wednesday's session.

In his address to the cabinet, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that ties with the US and NATO were on a crossroads and the time had come to make some important decisions.

"National interest will not be compromised when making a decision regarding ties with the US and NATO."

Gilani further said that there would be no compromise on the country’s principals and the government would not take any emotional decisions.

The cabinet is meeting after the cabinet's defence committee cleared the way for President Asif Ali Zardari to attend next week's NATO summit in Chicago.

That defence committee meeting also authorised officials to conclude negotiations on new terms and conditions for resuming the transit of fuel and other non-lethal items required by NATO troops in their decade-long fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the prime minister's office said.

Islamabad shut its Afghan border crossings to NATO after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26 as relations with the United States, already frayed by the discovery of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, plunged into their worst ever crisis.

Pakistan's attendance in Chicago, where NATO leaders meet Sunday and Monday, would ease its international isolation and could boost its leverage over the future of Afghanistan, as Western countries pull out their combat forces by 2014.

Islamabad boycotted the last major talks on Afghanistan, held in Bonn in December.

The prime minister's office said overnight that Pakistan would "continue to remain engaged" with the United States on both issues.

Analysts say Pakistan had no choice but acquiesce to immense international pressure to reopen the border with US cash needed to help boost its meagre state coffers with the government seeking re-election within a year.

Washington said both countries had made "considerable progress" on ending the blockade, which has halted fuel and supply trucks from the southern port city of Karachi to two Afghan border crossings.

"We will continue to work on this throughout the week. Obviously, it'll be a wonderful signal if we can get it done by the time of the summit," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. (AFP)

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Iran's President Ahmadinejad and Pakistan's PM Gilani talk during their meeting in Islamabad
Iran's President Ahmadinejad and Pakistan's PM Gilani talk during their meeting in Islamabad
zareena is based in Rāwalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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