Despite previous reports from US officials familiar with the negotiations, Pakistan’s Foreign Office insisted today that a deal on the outstanding disputes, including US drone strikes and the reopening of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to NATO traffic remains far off.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit confirmed that the two sides continue to talk and are coming close to a “basic framework” on the terms for reopening the border, including taxation of the NATO convoys.
The deal is likely to stall, however, on the question of the drones. A number of Pakistani MPs have made it clear that getting the US to halt the drone strikes must be clearly linked with any deal on reopening the border, and the US has ruled out any halt to the attacks.
Thus while talks on the minutia continue to progress, the primary issue remains virtually unaddressed, and apparently in the Obama Administration’s mind unaddressable. With the foreign ministry insisting they won’t move on the border without parliamentary approval, this likely means they won’t move at all.
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