The US and Pakistani officials expressed optimism Monday that Islamabad was close to reopening its Afghan border to NATO troop supplies after a 7-month blockade,a move that could significantly reduce tension between the two countries.
The tussle over the supply line,which Pakistan closed in November in retaliation for US airstrikes that killed 24 of its troops,has driven the bilateral relationship to new lows,threatening US prospects in Afghanistan.
The two sides have been deadlocked for months because of disagreements over transit payments and Washingtons refusal to apologise for the deadly attack.
While the exact details of a deal remain unclear,there are growing signs that a breakthrough could be imminent.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf called a meeting of the defence committee of the Cabinet on Tuesday to decide whether to reopen the supply line,according to a senior Pakistani official.
The decision to call the meeting followed a visit Monday by a high-level US delegation to Islamabad that included the top US commander in Afghanistan,Gen. John Allen; Under Secretary of Defence for Policy James Miller and Resources Thomas Nides,said a senior US official. It was Allens second visit in less than a week. The US addressed Pakistans demands for higher transit fees by sweetening the deal with extensive road construction projects,the US official said.
Military takeover possible: Musharraf
LONDON: Claiming that Pakistan was being run to the ground,the countrys former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has not ruled out a fresh military takeover of the nation. The state is being run to the ground and people are again running to the military to save the country, Musharraf told a gathering in Aspen in Colorado in the US.