Grossman arriving in a few days to begin crucial round of talks

Marc Grossman

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United States are about to engage in crucial diplomatic consultations on the finalization of “new agreement on counter terrorism cooperation” for which the special envoy of the Obama administration, Marc Grossman, is expected to reach Pakistan in the next few days and his trip would be followed by the Pak-US foreign ministers’ meeting to seal the pact.

Pakistani parliament on Thursday approved “new guidelines for the rules of engagement with US” in which it gave a green signal to opening non-lethal NATO supplies meant for NATO troops in Afghanistan by barring only the supply of weapons to the neighboring country.Now, Islamabad and Washington would work out the amount involving the taxation of NATO trucks and containers and also finalize measures to ensure smooth supply of Coalition Support Funds (CSF) to Islamabad and for that ambassador Grossman is coming to Islamabad. “Grossman’s visit will be followed by the two foreign ministers’ meeting for which either Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will go to Washington or US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive here in the next couple of weeks.

It is being finalized which foreign minister will be the host and which one will be the guest,” said a diplomatic source on Friday, seeking anonymity.Pakistan and the United States also need to work out to mutual satisfaction on another contentious issue of drone strikes in the Tribal Areas. Pakistani parliament on Thursday once again called for cessation of these attacks but the diplomatic sources said Washington was unlikely to halt them and instead could go for reduction in their number, something which is already being practiced by the CIA.

“Grossman will also discuss the drone issue with Pakistani officials and so would Secretary of State Clinton with Foreign Minister Khar and most likely CIA Chief General David Petraeus will also take up this issue with new ISI head Lt General Zaheerul Islam,” the source said. Another diplomat when contacted also confirmed the exchange of important visits between Islamabad and Washington in the next few days. He said the trips were aimed at working out a pact on future cooperation in war on terror between Islamabad and Washington. To a question on announcement of the reopening of NATO supply routes by Pakistan for food and other non-lethal goods in the wake of parliament’s joint session, he said first the US would come up with an apology for attacking Salala checkpost and after that we could see that announcement being made. – PT

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United States are about to engage in crucial diplomatic consultations on the finalization of “new agreement on counter terrorism cooperation” for which the special envoy of the Obama administration, Marc Grossman, is expected to reach Pakistan in the next few days and his trip would be followed by the Pak-US foreign ministers’ meeting to seal the pact.

Pakistani parliament on Thursday approved “new guidelines for the rules of engagement with US” in which it gave a green signal to opening non-lethal NATO supplies meant for NATO troops in Afghanistan by barring only the supply of weapons to the neighboring country.
Now, Islamabad and Washington would work out the amount involving the taxation of NATO trucks and containers and also finalize measures to ensure smooth supply of Coalition Support Funds (CSF) to Islamabad and for that ambassador Grossman is coming to Islamabad. “Grossman’s visit will be followed by the two foreign ministers’ meeting for which either Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will go to Washington or US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive here in the next couple of weeks.

It is being finalized which foreign minister will be the host and which one will be the guest,” said a diplomatic source on Friday, seeking anonymity.Pakistan and the United States also need to work out to mutual satisfaction on another contentious issue of drone strikes in the Tribal Areas. Pakistani parliament on Thursday once again called for cessation of these attacks but the diplomatic sources said Washington was unlikely to halt them and instead could go for reduction in their number, something which is already being practiced by the CIA.

“Grossman will also discuss the drone issue with Pakistani officials and so would Secretary of State Clinton with Foreign Minister Khar and most likely CIA Chief General David Petraeus will also take up this issue with new ISI head Lt General Zaheerul Islam,” the source said. Another diplomat when contacted also confirmed the exchange of important visits between Islamabad and Washington in the next few days. He said the trips were aimed at working out a pact on future cooperation in war on terror between Islamabad and Washington. To a question on announcement of the reopening of NATO supply routes by Pakistan for food and other non-lethal goods in the wake of parliament’s joint session, he said first the US would come up with an apology for attacking Salala checkpost and after that we could see that announcement being made.