Chicago : The U.S. may not be able to strike the long-awaited agreement with Pakistan to help supply Western soldiers in Afghanistan as hoped in time before the NATO summit in Chicago this weekend, a U.S. official has said.
“There”s a distinct possibility that we may not see an agreement before the end of this weekend,” The News quoted the U.S. official, as saying.
“But talks are progressing and we do expect to reach a deal in the near future,” he added.
As Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari recently accepted a last-minute NATO invitation to the May 20-21 summit, many U.S. officials were optimistic of striking a deal to reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, which were blocked in protest after a U.S. air raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border in November last year.
Zardari”s appearance at the summit was seen as a potential breakthrough after the border deaths plunged the strained U.S.-Pakistan ties into a deep freeze for months.
Now, as the two countries continue to disagree about details of a possible deal, that optimism appears to have faded, states the paper.
Pakistan has said its roads require millions of dollars in repairs after years of NATO trucks going back and forth. The U.S. has reportedly offered far less than the amount that Pakistani officials believe should be charged.
“The fees proposed by the Pakistanis are unacceptable, not just to the United States but to our NATO allies,” the official said.