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Pakistan postpones reopening of NATO supply line

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 18, IRNA -- Pakistan has postponed decision of the restoration of supply line for U.S-led NATO forces in Afghanistan until the U.S. gives positive response to the country's demands and conditions, official sources said Wednesday.

Pakistan closed the supply line in November last year after NATO fighter jets struck Pakistani border posts and killed 24 soldiers.

The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC), which had taken decision to block NATO supplies a day after the deadly NATO raids, met Tuesday evening to make a decision on reopening of the supply line. But the official statement issued late last night did not mention the NATO supply line.

The special parliament session called this month for future relations with the U.S., had left the decision on the NATO supplies to the government after the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) opposed using parliament for the issue.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani presided over the meeting which was attended by key members of his Cabinet, three services chiefs and the head of Inter-Services Intelligence.

The meeting delayed decision on the NATO supplies and ‘linked the decision with certain positive steps by the United States’, a local media report said. The decision was deferred after senior military leaders ‘expressed reservations’, reports said.

The meeting was informed about the delay in payments to Pakistan by the U.S. despite promises and it was decided to wait to the response of the country’s Finance Minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who is currently holding talks with American officials in Washington.

The reports said that the meeting has instructed the Foreign Ministry to work out a plan for relationship with the U.S. in line with the parliamentary guidelines with focus on three major issues – the U.S. should tender apology over the November NATO strike on Pakistani checkposts, bring those involved in the strike to justice and to ensure halt to U.S. drone astrikes.

The meeting was told that the U.S. will stop drone strikes after all foreign fighters are expelled from the tribal regions, whom the U.S. considers as a serious threat to its security.

The DCC directed to chalk out a formal strategy or operational plan to clear the lawless tribal region of foreign militants, whose presence prompt U.S. drone strikes.

The senior civilian and military leaders decided to call another meeting to take decision on NATO supplies after the U.S. positive response to Pakistan’s demands and conditions.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80085125

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