Islamabad: Pakistan and the US are expected
to hold crucial talks on a new framework for transporting
supplies to foreign troops in Afghanistan through Pakistani
territory when a senior US official visits Islamabad this
week, according to a media report on Monday.
US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides is expected to
travel to Pakistan this week for discussions on framing a new
agreement on the NATO supply routes, The Express Tribune
quoted unnamed officials as saying.
Nides, who is the responsible for management and
resources, is due to hold talks with top Pakistani officials,
including Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, an official
The talks will be the first formal negotiations on the
issue between the two countries since Pakistan closed the
supply routes in reaction to a NATO air strike that killed 24
Pakistani soldiers in November.
A Pakistani Parliamentary panel has recommended that the
ban on the supply routes should not be lifted until the US
offers an apology for the NATO attack and agrees to pay a tax
on the transportation of supplies through Pakistani territory.
The official said Washington had shown its "willingness
to accept Islamabad`s demand of additional fees on NATO goods
passing through Pakistan".
The issue of reimbursements to Pakistan from the
Coalition Support Fund for expenses incurred on the war on
terror is also expected to be discussed during Nides` visit to
Islamabad, another official said.
The reimbursements have been a contentious issue between
the two countries. The CSF was established by the US in 2001 to support 27
nations, including Pakistan, to partially cover costs they
incur on the war against terror.
US Ambassador Cameron Munter met Finance Minister Shaikh
last week to finalise the agenda of Nides` visit.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered a Parliamentary
review of Pakistan-US ties after the NATO air strike.
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has
given 40 recommendations for resetting relations with the US.
A joint session of Parliament has been unable to make
progress on debating the Parliamentary panel’s recommendations
and framing new terms of engagement with the US due to
reservations expressed by opposition parties.
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security is
currently reviewing its original recommendations and is
expected to present new proposals to lawmakers on April 5.