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US talks fail as Pakistan seeks apology

The latest high-level talks on ending a diplomatic deadlock between the United States and Pakistan ended in failure on Friday over Pakistani demands for an unconditional apology from the Obama administration for an airstrike. The White House, angered by the recent spectacular Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, refuses to apologise.

The Obama administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, left the Pakistani capital Friday night with no agreement after two days of discussions aimed at patching up the damage caused by the American airstrikes last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghanistan border.

Both sides insist that they are now ready to make up and restore an uneasy alliance that at its best offers support for American efforts in Afghanistan as well as the battle against some extremist groups operating from Pakistan. The administration had been seriously debating whether to say “I’m sorry” to the Pakistanis’ satisfaction — until April 15, when multiple, simultaneous attacks struck Kabul and other Afghan cities.

American military and intelligence officials concluded the attacks were orchestrated by the Haqqani network, working from North Waziristan in Pakistan’s tribal belt. That swung the debate on whether Obama or another senior official should go beyond the expression of regret that the administration had already given, and apologise.

The negotiations are complicated by interlocking demands from both sides. Without the apology, Pakistan officials say they cannot reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. The Americans, in turn, are withholding between $1.18 billion and $3 billion of military aid.

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Posted by on Apr 29 2012. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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