Senin, 12 Desember 2011

Pak-U.S. ties set to top Envoys' Conference in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan opened a two-day Envoys ' Conference in Islamabad on Monday to deliberate on "different aspects" of the country's foreign policy with special focus on review of relationship with the United States and NATO, the Foreign Ministry said.

The conference assumed importance as Pakistani leaders have decided to review its relationship with the United States and its Western allies in the wake of the Nov. 26 NATO attack on Pakistani border posts, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

"We are reviewing the terms of engagement with the NATO and the U.S," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said ahead of the conference.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar presided over the Conference and Intelligence Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha briefed the participants about the NATO strikes.

Prime Minister Ysuf Raza Gilani has already set tone for the proposed review of ties with the United States by saying that the relationship will not be like in the past.

Ambassadors and High Commissioners in selected key capitals are participating in the conference who will "deliberate on different aspects of Pakistan's foreign policy," the spokesman said.

The conference was called after the U.S.-led NATO fighter jets and helicopters carried out what Pakistani leaders viewed as intentional attack on two border posts in the country's Mohmand tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Islamabad angrily reacted to the attack as the military leadership said the NATO aircraft violated the "Red Lines" clearly defined to the U.S./NATO and ISAF forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan military said that NATO had carried out eight strikes on Pakistani posts in three years, killing 72 soldiers and injuring hundreds of others.

Pakistan's military leadership rejected regrets from the U.S. and NATO leaders and the civilian leaders preferred to review future relationship with the United States and NATO. The government had been under tremendous internal pressure to review relations with the U.S. in the so-called anti-terror war, which has killed nearly 35,000 civilians and 5,000 security men in 10 years.

In order to adopt harsh stand after the November 26 NATO strike, Pakistan closed the supply line for NATO troops in Afghanistan and Gilani said on Sunday that the supply line will remain shut for more weeks.

In another major decision, Pakistan ordered the U.S. military to evacuate from a strategically important airbase in Balochistan province. The U.S. military had used the Shamsi airbase for nearly 10 years and the last U.S. flight took off from the airstrip on Sunday, transferring its spy aircraft, equipment and personnel. Pakistani army Sunday issued video and photographs of the airbase, showing its own troops taking control and the departure of the final U.S. Air Force flight.

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