Islamabad, June 12: The U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson Commander Bill Speaks has said the U.S. is ready to send officials back to Islamabad when the Pakistan government is ready to conclude the agreement on the reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.
The U.S. pulled out negotiators from Pakistan after talks failed to produce an agreement on reopening vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, reports The Express Tribune.
However, Speaks said the negotiating team had completed technical consultations with Pakistan and therefore had returned home.
“The U.S. is ready to send officials back to Islamabad when the Pakistan government is ready to conclude the agreement, and the charg‚ d’affaires remains in place to continue working on the process,” Speaks said, adding that the goal for the U.S. was to finalise an agreement as soon as possible.
The team of negotiators had been in Pakistan for about six weeks as U.S. officials had believed they were close to a deal with Islamabad to lift the blockade on NATO supplies.
On the other hand, Pentagon spokesman George Little said the team was returning, as no breakthrough was imminent, adding that there was no scheduled date for a resumption of the negotiations.
“The decision was reached to bring the team home for a short period of time,” Little said.
The U.S., however, would continue to maintain a ‘dialogue’ with Pakistan and the departure of the expert negotiating team did not mean Washington had given up discussions with Islamabad or that the pullout had been imposed on them, he said.
“That’s not to be taken as a sign of our unwillingness to continue the dialogue with Pakistanis on this issue,” he said, adding that the negotiators are “prepared to return at any moment.” (ANI)