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US withdraws supply negotiators from Pakistan

Posted by The Agonist on June 12th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

June 12

Al JazeeraWashington to bring home diplomats without securing deal with Islamabad to end blockade on NATO convoys to Afghanistan.

The United States is withdrawing its team of negotiators from Pakistan without securing a long-sought deal with Islamabad to allow trucks to again supply NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan, the Pentagon has said.

“The decision was reached to bring the team home for a short period of time,” George Little, Pentagon spokesman, told reporters on Monday.

The team of negotiators had been in Pakistan for about six weeks, he said, as US officials had believed they were close to a deal with Islamabad to lift the blockade on NATO convoys.

But no breakthrough was imminent and there was no scheduled date for a resumption of the negotiations, Little said.

The comments came after Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, refused last week to meet US assistant defence secretary Peter Lavoy, who traveled to Pakistan to try to resolve the dispute, officials said.

[...]

Pakistan’s envoy to the US had warned that Panetta’s comments last Thursday in Kabul were unhelpful to efforts to narrow the differences between the two countries and came at a critical moment in negotiations.

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