Relationship with Pakistan very tensed: Pentagon

Last Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 - 22:33

Washington: US`s relationship with Pakistan is very tensed but the two countries are working to resolve the issues, the Pentagon said Monday, days after the "failed" talks held by the Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman in Islamabad.

"It is a very tensed time in our relationship (with Pakistan). All the more tensed because of the event in late November. We are trying to work out through this," the Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt John Kirby told reporters during an off-camera news conference here.

Kirby asserted that he would not discuss the details of the negotiations that the US is having with the Pakistani leadership now.

In November 26 last year, 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO cross-border strike that brought the ties between the two countries almost to a standstill.

Grossman was in Islamabad last week holding talks with the top Pakistani leadership on a series of issues including reopening of the ground lines of communication, restoration of bilateral ties.

The US media has reported that the talks failed.

"I am not going to get into details of discussions with this Government and the Pakistani Government.

"It is larger than just the military here in the Pentagon. This is about nation to nation relationship," he said.

"It (US-Pak relationship) has been tensed. It has been tensed since November 26. There is no question about that. The situation is still tensed between us, but both sides are interested in moving past this and both sides recognize the importance of good, working co-operative relationship," Kirby said in response to a question.

"Senior leaders on both sides had lot of discussions and dialogue about how to move the relationship forward. It is a difficult complex relationship. Everybody understands that," he asserted.

Kirby said both sides recognise the importance of this relationship.

"We are not going to agree on everything, we have not agreed on everything, but both sides are taking it very seriously in terms of trying to find (a solution)," Kirby said.

When asked about the Pakistan demand of a US apology for the November 26 incident, the Pentagon official said Washington would not talk about the negotiations it is having with Islamabad.

Discussions are still going on reopening of the supply routes.

"We are in discussions with our Pakistani counterparts. No decisions have been reached. We do hope that the GLOCs (ground line of communications) reopen soon," the Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, said.

The two NATO supply routes were closed down by Pakistan in retaliation of the November 26 incident.

"This has been an issue of continuous conversation. We are having discussions with them since they closed it in November. But this is a decision which the Pakistanis would ultimately have to make," Kirby said conceding that reopening of the routes is connected to the rest of the issues.

"Parliament has passed a series of resolutions over there...We are in active discussion with them. Right now they are closed," he said, adding that no final decisions have been made so far, one way or the other.

"Ultimately these are decisions to be made by the Pakistani Government," he said.

Kirby, however, refused to entertain questions related to the recent drone strikes, which US media reports are saying has complicated relationship between the two countries.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 30, 2012 - 22:33

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