NATO should apologise to Pakistan: UAE

Pakistan leased Shamsi airbase to UAE in 1992.

Updated: Dec 01, 2011, 00:24 AM IST

Islamabad: The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday
said NATO should apologise to Pakistan for the death of 24
soldiers in a cross-border air strike and denied it had sought
an extension in the Pakistani deadline for the US to vacate
Shamsi airbase.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
made the remarks while interacting with foreign reporters in
Abu Dhabi, state-run APP news agency reported.

Sheikh Abdullah made an unscheduled visit to Islamabad
this week after the Pakistan government demanded that the US
should vacate Shamsi airbase.

Following Saturday`s air strike, the Pakistan government
asked the US to vacate the airbase and closed all NATO supply
routes.

However, Sheikh Abdullah dispelled reports that he had
discussed the vacation of the airbase with Pakistani leaders.

"The UAE did not talk about Shamsi airbase, nor the
Pakistani side talked about it," he told reporters through an
interpreter.

If NATO is using any facilities in Pakistan, it was up to
the two sides to discuss such issues, he said.

Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE was closely following the
happenings in Pakistan as the two countries have deep and
historic ties.

He described his meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari
and Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as "very
important" and regretted the loss of 24 lives in the NATO
attack.

"This is a mistake that we cannot accept. Anyone who
loves Pakistan cannot justify it," he said.

He called for an investigation into the incident and said
assurances must be given that there would no repetition of
such attacks.

Pakistan leased Shamsi airbase to UAE in 1992.

The UAE reportedly allowed the US to use the base after
the 9/11 terror attacks. It has been widely reported that
CIA-operated drones are based at Shamsi.

PTI