US/Pakistan Talks Fail as Obama Refuses to Apologize for Attack

The New York Times is reporting today that high-level talks designed to end a diplomatic deadlock between the U.S. and Pakistan ended in failure Friday night because the Obama administration is refusing to apologize for US attacks last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Because the U.S. has refused to apologize for the attack, Pakistan has retaliated by cutting off NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. In return, the U.S. is withholding as much as $3 billion of promised military aid.

The DAWN newspaper of Pakistanreports that instead of apologizing, the Americans want Pakistan to settle for invitation to the Chicago NATO Summit in return for the reopening of ground supply routes.

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The New York Times reports:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The first concentrated high-level talks aimed at breaking a five-month diplomatic deadlock between the United States and Pakistan ended in failure on Friday over Pakistani demands for an unconditional apology from the Obama administration for an airstrike. The White House, angered by the recent spectacular Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, refuses to apologize.

The Obama administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, left the Pakistani capital Friday night with no agreement after two days of discussions aimed at patching up the damage caused by the American airstrikes last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghanistan border. [...]

The negotiations are complicated by a complex web of interlocking demands from both sides. Without the apology, Pakistani officials say they cannot reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan that have been closed since November.

The Americans, in turn, are withholding between $1.18 billion and $3 billion of promised military aid — the exact figure depending on which side is speaking.

The continuing deadlock does not bode well for Pakistan’s attendance at a NATO meeting in Chicago in three weeks, assuming it is even invited. The administration has been eager to cast the event as a regional security summit meeting, and Pakistan’s absence would be embarrassing.


April 28, 2012, Common Dreams