Nato supply discussed in top level meeting in presidency
ISLAMABAD: An informal meeting of the top military and political leadership was held at the President’s House in Islamabad late on Saturday night to discuss the resumption of Nato supplies and the overall scenario of the country, DawnNews reported.
The meeting headed by President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari was attended by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman and officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting discussed the reopening of Nato supplies, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)s to be signed between the US and Pakistan, Pakistan-US relations and the overall political situation of the country.
US and Pakistani officials are meeting again on Monday to finalise a MoU to regulate Nato supplies to Afghanistan, official sources told Dawn. Both sides have formed MoU committees to expedite an agreement.
The officials are believed to have reached an understanding and both sides are now consulting lawyers to prepare the final draft, the sources said.
It is still not clear if the MoU will also include a proposal to rebuild the National Highway which is in a bad shape because of Nato trucks or this issue will be dealt with separately.
Pakistan closed ground supply routes to Afghanistan to protest a Nov 26 US air raid on one of its border posts that killed 24 soldiers. The routes reopened last week after the United States accepted the Pakistani demand for an apology over the air raid.
But the 7-month delay has created a huge backlog as more than 7,000 trucks with Nato supplies are held up in Pakistan.
Both sides have, however, agreed to expedite the process. They intend to move first about 1,600 trucks that have been pre-cleared and sealed and are ready to go. Other held-up cargo will follow soon.
At a recent briefing in Washington, a State Department official told reporters that Pakistan remains committed to expediting the movement of supply trucks to Afghanistan.
On Thursday, officials at the Foreign Office told reporters in Islamabad that the US and Pakistan would soon sign an MoU to regulate the supplies.
Reports in the Pakistani media claimed that the government had decided to scrap a Musharraf-era agreement with the United States because it felt the old arrangement had created problems for both countries.