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Pakistan PM chairs meet on NATO supply route

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 17, IRNA -- Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders are scheduled to meet Wednesday to make a final decision on the reopening of logistics supply line to NATO troops in Afghanistan, official sources said.

Pakistan closed the supply land route for NATO/ISAF forces in Afghanistan in November following strikes by U.S. forces on two Pakistani border checkposts.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will preside over the meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet.

The meeting will be attended by several important Ministers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Shamim Wyeen, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and other Services Chiefs.

The meeting has been called days after the parliament unanimously approved a resolution for resetting the country's strained relations with the U.S. that, observers say, paved the way for reopening NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

The resolution had however opposed supply of arms to NATO troops through Pakistani air space or land route. Officials say that nearly 70 percent supplies are transported to some 150,000 U.S-led NATO/ISAF forces via Pakistan until the route was closed in November.

The resolution also called for an immediate cessation of American drone strikes and also seeks an apology for the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a NATO air strike last year. But the U.S. officials have reportedly refused to stop the drone strikes.

Local media quoted sources that the meeting will formally announce reopening of NATO supply route.

The meeting would be held hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called her Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and ‘discussed bilateral relations and agreed to broaden engagements for pursuit of agreed objectives,’ the Foreign Ministry said early Tuesday.

“They also discussed the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul and expressed their commitment to closely work for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The Foreign Minister informed Secretary Clinton that the parliamentary process offered an unprecedented opportunity to build a transparent relationship based on mutual respect, a statement said.

“Secretary Clinton expressed her appreciation and respect for the parliamentary process.

Foreign Minister also said that Pakistan would welcome a US delegation to continue the dialogue process on new terms of engagement,” the statement said.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80083012

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