Pakistan: US turn to bridge the 'trust deficit'



ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON // US-Pakistan talks to end a diplomatic deadlock between the two countries have broken down over Pakistani demands for an apology over a US air raid and US anger over a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Marc Grossman, the US special envoy to Pakistan, left the country after two days of discussions with Pakistani officials ended in failure to reach agreement to repair relations or reopen Nato supply routes into Afghanistan.

Analysts say, however, that the relationship is far too important on both sides to talk of a complete breakdown.

"Both sides still have some common interests. That's why you can't break off the relationship. But [negotiators] have to wait for a more propitious time to go forward," said Marvin Weinbaum of the Middle East Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

Mr Grossman was trying to patch up the damage done to relations between the two sides by a US air raid in the Salala border region in the Mohmand tribal region in November 2011 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan's parliament earlier this month recommended that the government seek an unconditional apology from the United States for the Salala strike as well as an end to US drone attacks on militants operating from the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan.

In talks with Mr Grossman on Friday, Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, raised the two issues as well as what Pakistan sees as the delay in the Coalition Support Fund - reimbursement of the cost incurred on the use of Pakistani infrastructure in the US-led war on terrorism. Mr Zardari wants the issues to be addressed to revive cooperation in fighting militancy.

"It [is] now the US turn to fully appreciate the democratic course and to help Pakistan in reaching closure to Salala by helping the Pakistan government follow the path as indicated by the parliament," a statement from Mr Zardari's office quoted him as saying.

"Bridging the trust-deficit holds the key to Pakistan rejoining the counter-terrorism cooperation."

US officials told the Times that the two sides had been close to agreement and that the US administration had considered an unconditional apology when a series of apparently coordinated attacks hit Kabul and other Afghan cities on April 15, targeting western embassies, Nato troops and the parliament building.

The US blames the Pakistan-based Haqqani network for planning the attacks. Washington says the Haqqani are the most active of Afghanistan's insurgents, and the US wants Pakistan to move more aggressively to shut down insurgents based in north-west Pakistan, particularly in the tribal area of North Waziristan. Until Pakistan does so, US officials insist that drone strikes across the border remain the only effective means to fight Pakistani-based militants.

Pakistan wants the US to end a practice that it sees as a violation of its sovereignty that has caused civilian casualties.

The use of drone strikes has dramatically increased under the Barack Obama administration, peaking in 2010 with 117 strikes, nearly half of all strikes over the past eight years, according to the Long War Journalwebsite, which tracks the strikes.

And relations suffered other setbacks in 2011, from the killing of two Pakistanis by a CIA security officer in February to the operation that killed Osama bin Laden but was seen as a humiliation for Pakistan's army.

Nevertheless, officials from both countries tried to paint the latest talks as only the beginning of what Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, on Friday described as a "re-engagement conversation".

"We're going to have to work through these issues, and it's going to take some time."

A senior Pakistani official said more talks could be held but did not say whether any dates had been fixed.

"The talks with Mr Grossman were not aimed at reaching any conclusion but we wanted to know each other's perspectives and opinions after the parliamentary review and then decide the next step," he told The National on condition of anonymity.

Mr Weinbaum said domestic political considerations in both the US and Pakistan are making reconciliation difficult.

Pakistan's parliament is leaving it to the government to order the reopening of roads for Nato supplies, a decision that will be unpopular in Pakistan. An unconditional US apology to Pakistan for the Salala strike, meanwhile, could play badly in the US after the April 15 attacks.

Many Republicans see Islamabad as at best a reluctant ally and at worst as an active supporter of the Taliban.

Mr Obama is seeking re-election in November, while Pakistan may also hold general elections this year.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Directed by: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry

4/5

Mercedes V250 Avantgarde specs

Engine: 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo

Gearbox: 7-speed automatic

Power: 211hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 350Nm

Fuel economy, combined: 6.0 l/100 km

Price: Dh235,000

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

The 12 breakaway clubs

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

THE SPECS

Range Rover Sport Autobiography Dynamic

Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8

Transmission: six-speed manual

Power: 518bhp

Torque: 625Nm

Speed: 0-100kmh 5.3 seconds

Price: Dh633,435

On sale: now

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Ticket prices

General admission Dh295 (under-three free)

Buy a four-person Family & Friends ticket and pay for only three tickets, so the fourth family member is free

Buy tickets at: wbworldabudhabi.com/en/tickets

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now