'Positive political statements' from Pak on ending NATO supply blockade: Nuland
Islamabad, May 17 (ANI): U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said Pakistan has made some "helpful and positive political statements" in support of an eventual deal to end a blockade of NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.
"We have had some progress (in the talks). We've also had some very helpful and positive political statements out of Pakistan, some political moves," The Express Tribune quoted Nuland, as saying.
But "there are a number of technical issues that we are still working through," she added, as talks continued on reopening NATO supply lines that have been closed for six months, reports.
"While the Pakistani political leadership hasn't yet authorised the reopening of the ground transportation routes, we understand that they did endorse the conclusion of the negotiations," Nuland said.
She added the Pakistanis "are sending a political signal to their own negotiating team that they would like to see this wrapped up. That doesn't change the fact that we still haven't closed all the issues."
Pakistan had shut its Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies on November 26, after U.S. air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had recently said it is time to "move on" and repair relations with the U.S. and NATO.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has said "there is no deadline" for the talks, but said "all departments have been asked to conclude their negotiations in the quickest possible time."
Although Islamabad has stopped short of announcing when the transit lines will reopen, it has signaled that President Asif Ali Zardari will attend talks on Afghanistan in Chicago on May 20-21, after a last-minute invitation from NATO.
By going to Chicago, Pakistan hopes to ease its international isolation and boost its leverage over the future of Afghanistan, as Western countries pull out their combat forces by 2014. (ANI)
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