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Pakistan denies U.S. Hagel has threatened aid suspension
 
 
 

Pakistan on Thursday rejected American media reports that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has threatened suspension of millions of dollars aid to the country if the main supply route to NATO troops in Afghanistan is not reopened.
Ruling coalition in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a main supply route for foreign forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, has cut the line as protest against the U.S. drone attacks for three weeks.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf or justice movement, which leads the ruling coalition, has said that the NATO supply line will remain blocked unless the United States stops drone strikes.
Hagel, during his daylong visit to Pakistan on Monday, raised the issue of the NATO supply line in meetings with Pakistani civilian and military leaders and demanded its opening.
The U.S. media quoted Hagle as telling the Pakistani leaders that "if they do not resolve protests halting the shipments, it could be difficult to maintain political support in Washington for an ongoing aid program for the country".
The Foreign Ministry spokesman in Islamabad rejected these reports as baseless.
Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said that Pakistan has been continuing NATO supplies through southern routes.
"The U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hegel held positive talks with Pakistani leadership during his recent visit," he told the media during weekly briefing.
He said both sides discussed wide-range of issues including drones, NATO supplies and Afghan reconciliation process.
Aizaz Chaudhry said Pakistan and the United States have difference of opinion on the drone strikes in Pakistani territories. He, however, said there are many areas where Pakistan and the United States have convergence of interests, adding the overall Pakistan and United States ties are on positive trajectory.
Meanwhile Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday said although a significant decrease has been noted in drone strikes this year, Pakistan wants an end to drone strikes.
Talking to media in Islamabad on Thursday, he said Pakistan wants complete stoppage of drone strikes instead of any decrease in them. Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has been actively raising the issue at every international forum.

 
 
 
 
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April 18, 2014
 
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