Pakistan to reopen Nato routes

Pakistan to reopen Nato routes

Zardari to attend summit

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will attend Nato’s upcoming Chicago summit as Islamabad looks all set to open the six-month blockade of the military alliance’s supply routes to Afghanistan.

Nato extended an “unconditional” invitation for its summit next week to Zardari and supply routes for foreign troops in Afghanistan will be reopened after negotiations conclude with the US, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday.

Both the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, Pakistan’s highest body on security issues, and the federal cabinet have endorsed the president’s participation in the Nato summit in Chicago after the invitation was sent by Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, he said.

A final decision on reopening supply routes for Nato troops in Afghanistan will depend on the outcome of talks between the US and different ministries and organisations of Pakistan, Gilani told reporters on the sidelines of an official event. “We have directed the concerned departments to conclude their negotiations. The talks are under way,” he said.

Pakistan closed the routes after a cross-border Nato air strike killed 24 of its soldiers in November. Islamabad and Washington were unable to put their ties on an even keel as Pakistan had been insisting on an unconditional apology from the US for the strike.

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