Islamabad, June 14: Pakistan is willing to drastically reduce the taxes and transit fees it intends to impose on NATO supplies passing through the country into Afghanistan if the United States accepts full responsibility of the Salala air raid and offers a public apology.
A senior foreign office official admitted that the apology, and not tariff rates, is the main hurdle for the resumption of NATO supplies, which were indefinitely suspended after a U.S. air raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at the Salala check post last November, reports The Express Tribune.
“Once the U.S. tenders an apology, the issue of taxes and transit fees will be settled in no time,” the official was quoted, as saying.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns are expected to meet on Thursday at Kabul on the sidelines of the ministerial conference on Afghanistan. It is believed that the two will work towards narrowing down their differences, which have had a considerable impact on both countries.
Khar had confirmed on Wednesday that the issue of tariff was not a stumbling block in resetting ties with the U.S.
“Pakistan is not engaged in any sort of price-gouging debate right now. These impressions are indeed incorrect, wrong and must be dispersed as soon as possible,” Khar had said.
“The U.S. knows very well our needs and requirements to enable us to move in that direction; to enable us to take that decision,” Khar said with reference to the resumption of NATO supplies.
Meanwhile, during a congressional committee’s hearing in Washington, U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein appeared to endorse Khar’s remarks by suggesting that Pakistan was willing to lower tariff rates in return for an apology.
“It is my view that Pakistan will lower the cost, but they want an apology,” she said. (ANI)