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Pak's presence at NATO summit important: US

By Lalit K Jha
May 15, 2012 23:45 IST
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The United States on Tuesday said that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries have decided it is important to have participation of Pakistan at the Chicago Summit on Afghanistan hoping that Islamabad would be able to reopen the supply routes by then.

"We are making progress, and we will continue to work on this throughout the week. Obviously, it'll be a wonderful signal if we can get it done by the time of the summit. But we decided nonetheless -- NATO countries all together decided that it was important to have Pakistan in the ISAF meeting," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

Nuland's remarks came after NATO invited Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Chicago to attend the NATO summit, which has been accepted by Islamabad.

"As (NATO) Secretary General Rasmussen said when he was here, as a neighbor of Afghanistan, Pakistan does have an important role to play in supporting Afghan security. We do want to see these land routes opened. We are continuing to work on it. But we thought it was important to have them at the summit in this partnership role," she said.

The State Department spokesperson said the US is making progress in talks with Pakistan on reopening of the NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

"We are not finished yet, but we are making some good progress. And we are going to continue to work on it all the way through the week and as long as it takes," she said.

Responding to questions on human rights violations in Pakistan in particular those of the Hindus and Christians, Nuland said the US always raises these issues.

"I think you know that we're never shy about talking to the government of Pakistan, speaking publicly when we have human rights concerns. I think you also know that it is coming soon upon the season when our annual human rights reports are issued. So I would expect that, as we always do, we'll have something to say this year on the issues that you raise," she said.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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