Pak okays draft pact with US on NATO supply routes
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Pakistan government has approved a draft agreement with the US on transportation of supplies to foreign forces in Afghanistan, weeks after it ended a seven month blockade of the crucial routes.
The draft agreement was approved by the federal Cabinet during a meeting chaired Wednesday by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
However, the government is keeping the draft secret and details about it were not divulged to the media at a briefing held after the Cabinet meeting.
Sources said that once the agreement is inked, legal hurdles in the way of NATO supplies would be removed.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters that details of the agreement will be shared with the media after it is signed.
"The Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and United States of America for the transit of US cargo to and from Afghanistan through the territory of Pakistan," said a statement issued after the Cabinet meeting.
Pakistan had shut the supply lines after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 of its soldiers last November.
The routes were recently reopened after the US apologised for the incident.
The Defence Ministries of Pakistan and the US will be the lead agencies under the new cargo transit agreement to be signed soon, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.
The pact will replace the current arrangement governing NATO supplies.
The new agreement will be similar to the current mechanism and will cover the transit of US cargo from the time it takes effect till 2014.
Other countries in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan that are interested in forging similar arrangements will have to accede to the Pakistan-US MoU, the report said.
The major difference between the existing and the new agreements is that the former was reportedly a verbal pact while the latter is written down.
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