Pak not `price-gouging` over NATO routes: Khar

Pakistan blocked the NATO supply routes in November last year to protest against the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Updated: Jun 14, 2012, 10:20 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that it was not a Pakistani demand for high tariffs on the NATO supplies that thwarted talks with the US aimed at repairing strenuous ties between the two and re-open NATO supply routes.

"Pakistan is not in any sort of price-gouging debate right now. So these impressions are indeed incorrect, wrong and must be dispersed as soon as possible," The Dawn quoted Khar, as saying.

"The US side knows very well the needs and requirements to enable us to move in that direction, to enable us to take that decision," she said, referring to re-opening the routes.

Pakistan had blocked the NATO supply routes in November last year to protest against the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers killed in cross-border fire by a NATO aircraft, reports The Dawn.

The supply lines through Pakistan, leading to Afghanistan, have been vital for US-led forces. Now, the routes are seen as important for the withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014.

But talks on getting the routes re-opened have become snagged on a Pakistani demand for a substantial increase in the fees Pakistan charges on the supplies, media reports have said.

The two trucking routes, one to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and the other to the capital, Kabul, accounted for almost a third of all cargo shipped to NATO forces in Afghanistan before they were suspended.

The US has rebuffed Pakistan`s demands for an apology for the deadly air strike in November.

The two sides failed to agree on the tariff and the US withdrew negotiators from Pakistan without securing a deal after six weeks of talks.

With the Pakistan routes unavailable, NATO has turned to countries to the north of Afghanistan for more expensive, longer land routes.