Washington: In an apparent snub to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, his US counterpart Barack Obama on Monday did not mention Pakistan in his opening remarks at the NATO Summit meeting on Afghanistan and instead welcomed the presence of officials from the Central Asia and Russia.
"I want to welcome the presence of (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai, as well as officials from Central Asia and Russia, nations that have an important perspective and that continue to provide critical transit for ISAF supplies," host Obama said in his opening remarks to the ongoing NATO Summit in Chicago.
Today`s meetings focused on Afghanistan. When Obama made this statement, Zardari was occupying a seat on the round table along with his Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
For the last few days, the US media has been reporting that Obama did not meet Zardari during the conference because of the Pakistan`s inability to reopen the NATO supply route to Afghanistan, which were closed by Islamabad in retaliation of the November 26 incident in which 24 Pak soldiers were killed in a cross border fire.
Both US and Pak official insist that progress has been made in their negotiations on this issue, but they haven`t reached a deal yet.
In his remarks, Obama said at the meeting that the participating countries can agree on NATO`s long-term relationship with Afghanistan beyond 2014, including their support of Afghan security forces.
"So we have a lot of work to do," he said.