Millennium Post

World leaders converge for NATO meet

President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday left for Chicago to attend a crucial NATO Summit that will focus on the Afghan war, amid hectic negotiations between Pakistani and American officials on a deal to reopen supply routes for foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Zardari left for the US shortly after midnight to attend the NATO Summit in Chicago during 20 - 21 May. Pakistani officials have said Zardari was extended an unconditional invitation by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen though analysts believe the move was linked to Islamabad's decision to move towards reopening the supply routes.

The President will address the expanded International Security Assistance Force meeting of NATO and meet various heads of state and government on the margins of the summit Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jillani are part of the President's delegation.

Over the past few days, Pakistani and American officials have been engaged in hectic negotiations on a deal to reopen the NATO supply routes, which were closed in November after a cross-border air strike by US forces in Afghanistan killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.


US President Barack Obama will meet his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai during a NATO summit in Chicago Sunday, a White House official said.

'Obviously it is an important meeting because a central focus of the NATO summit will be on Afghanistan,' said Obama's National Security Advisor Tom Donilon at a White House briefing Thursday, referring to the meeting between the two.

Obama met with Karzai earlier this month during his surprise visit to Afghanistan, where they signed the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement.

Donilon also confirmed that so far there is no plan for a bilateral meeting between Obama and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari even though the latter was also invited to attend the summit.

It is still unclear whether the US and Pakistan can sign an agreement for the reopening of a key NATO supply route before the NATO summit kicks off Sunday.

The supply line was cut off by the Pakistani government following a deadly NATO airstrike on two Pakistani border checkpoints in November last year, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The decade-old war in Afghanistan will dominate the NATO summit in Chicago slated for 20-21 May.
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