NATO asks Pak to re-open key supply route

Expressing regret for the deaths of Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border strike, NATO asked Pakistan to reopen the key supply route.

Updated: Oct 04, 2010, 21:19 PM IST

Brussels: Expressing regret for the deaths
of Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border strike, NATO on Monday
asked Pakistan to reopen the key supply route for coalition
troops in Afghanistan, but Islamabad said it cannot do so
unless the "reaction cools down" in the country.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen conveyed the message
to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a
meeting here.

"I expressed my regrets for the incident last week in
which Pakistani soldiers lost their lives," Rasmussen told
reporters after the meeting.

"I expressed condolences to the families. Obviously
this incident was unintended," he said.

Qureshi apprised the Secretary-General of the "gravity
of public anger over NATO incursions said that Pakistan would
only reopen a supply route for coalition troops in Afghanistan
once public anger eases and security improves."

"Unless the reaction cools down and we make sure that
the supply line is secured, we cannot reopen it," an official
statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad quoted
Qureshi as telling the NATO chief.

Qureshi said the UN mandate for ISAF is confined to
Afghanistan and NATO/ISAF forces are again advised to refrain
from any actions that constitute a violation of Pakistan`s
sovereignty.

Pakistan blocked a land route for NATO convoys
carrying supplies to Afghanistan since Thursday after
officials blamed a cross-border NATO helicopter attack for the
deaths of three Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan had already lodged a strong protest with NATO
over border violations and the Ambassador of Pakistan in
Brussels handed over demarche to the Deputy Secretary General,
NATO on October 1.

PTI