Pakistan not invited to Chicago summit: NATO chief Rasmussen
AGENCIES KARACHI NATO SECRETARYGENERAL Anders Fogh Rasmussen has urged Pakistan once again to reopen NATO ground supply routes to Afghanistan, Dawn News reported.
However, Rasmussen also said on Friday that Pakistan had not been invited to the crucial 25th NATO summit to be held in Chicago.
The May 20-21 two-day summit, with over 60 heads of state and governments expected to be in attendance, will be the biggest NATO summit in history.
The NATO chief said Pakistan’s name was not in the list of countries invited to the conference. Moreover, countries including Russia, China and India had also not been invited to the event.
Qatar, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Jordan are among a few of the countries to be attending the conference.
All eyes will be on Chicago later this month as crucial developments regarding Afghanistan’s future and the role of Nato forces in the region are expected to come out of the conference.
Earlier in April, diplomatic sources had told Dawn that the US hopes Pakistan will reopen supply routes before President Asif Ali Zardari arrives in Chicago to attend the summit. The US would welcome Pakistan’s “potential participation” in the NATO summit, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes had said.
“And obviously, the United States expects Mr Zardari to reopen the supply routes before the summit as it would be too embarrassing for him to attend a NATO meeting while his forces are blocking NATO supply lines,” said an official dealing directly with the summit.
Meanwhile, in a related development, a top American senator has warned Pakistan that the US would have no other option but to resort to “self-help” if Islamabad does not become more cooperative in the war against terrorism.
Such a warning, ahead of the Chicago summit later this month which is expected to take crucial discussions related to Afghanistan, came from none other than Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee and architect of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill that allotted $ 7.5 billion to Pakistan for five years.
“I personally think it is simply unacceptable to have a zone of immunity for acts of war against armed forces and against the collective community that has tried to accomplish what it has tried to accomplish,” Kerry said in his remarks at a Congressional hearing convened by him on the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago.
“That means Pakistan has to become more assertive and more cooperative, and we may have to resort to other kinds of self-help, depending on what they decide to do,” said Kerry, who in the Obama Administration is considered to be the best friend of Pakistan. Several times in the past three years, Kerry has flown to Pakistan to troubleshoot when all other means have failed, be it the Raymond Davis Case or the helicopter that got damaged in the Osama bin Laden raid at Abbottabad a year ago.
Such a remarks coming from Kerry is reflective of the changing mood in the US.