Express Tribune, June 12, 2012
Nato supply line not closed to raise prices: Sherry Rehman
By Huma Imtiaz
WASHINGTON: Pakistanâ€™s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman refuted the notion that the NATO supply routes had been closed to leverage a price advantage.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Ambassador Rehman said, â€œOn the NATO supplies, the way forward is more related to other issues; we certainly did not close the GLOCs for leveraging a price advantage.â€
On the subject of the USâ€™ decision to call back its negotiation team, the Pakistani ambassador said, â€œI donâ€™t really see it as an institutional pull-out, but really, that question is for the US administration to answer.â€
The US negotiation team which spent 45 days in Pakistan to hammer out a deal to resolve issues surrounding reopening of the route. A US official in Washington though said that the team was returning after they had completed their task, with the option of returning as and when required. The US charge dâ€™ affairs too was present in Pakistan to continue working on the deal.
She said that she has repeatedly said that Pakistan wants to be a part of the solution for NATO and the US as they undergo the security transition in Afghanistan, and not an obstacle.
Ambassador Rehman said that the supply routes had not been closed â€œin a fit of pique or on impulse.â€Instead, â€œThese were closed as a decision of the DCC after 24 Pakistani soldiers were martyred at the Salala check post in November last, absent an expression of remorse.â€
US Secretary of State Leon Panetta had recently said that Pakistan was trying to extort the US, seeking $5000 per truck that crossed over to Afghanistan from the $250 that was being charged prior to the November 2011 incident. Paneatta had said that the US would not â€œprice gougedâ€.
â€œWeâ€™re not about to get gouged in the price. We want a fair price,â€ Panetta said on ABCâ€™s â€œThis Weekâ€, in late May.