US-Pak patch-up talks fail over refusal by US to apologise for deadly NATO attack

   Apr 28, 2:21 pm

Islamabad, Apr 28 (ANI): The latest talks on ending a diplomatic deadlock between the United States and Pakistan ended in failure on Friday over Pakistan's demands for an unconditional apology from the United States for the deadly airstrike by NATO craft in its territory.

The White House, apparently angered by the recent Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, has now refused to apologise.

U.S Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, left Pakistan with no agreement after two days of discussions aimed at patching up the damage caused by the American airstrikes in November 2011 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghanistan border.

The administration had been seriously debating whether to aplogise to the Pakistan, until April 15, when multiple attacks struck Kabul and other Afghan cities, reported The Express Tribune.

According to U.S. military and intelligence officials, the attacks came at the direction of the Haqqani network, a group working from a base in North Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal belt. The Haqqani network has re-emerged as a focal American issue, particularly after the April 15 attacks.

Pakistan has refused to reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan that have been closed since November 2011 without an apology.

The U.S. sees drone strikes as crucial in fighting militants hiding in Pakistan's border areas and senior officials have said that the drone attacks would have to continue if Pakistan would not or could not strike insurgents in places like Miram Shah, the capital of North Waziristan, the paper said.

A senior Pakistani official said his country was offering a "wide menu of counter terrorism options" in a bid to slow down the rate of drone strikes. Pakistan has also offered to send F-16 fighter jets to strike Taliban and Qaeda targets in the tribal belt.

U.S. officials acknowledged that the stalemate would not be resolved soon. "This is the beginning of the re-engagement conversation," said Victoria Nuland , State Department spokeswoman. "We're going to have to work through these issues, and it's going to take some time," the paper quoted her, as saying.

Apart from the issues of drones and the apology, the two countries focused on four specific areas of potential cooperation: counter terrorism, the NATO supply lines, military aid payments and the Taliban peace process. (ANI)

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