ISLAMABAD - Foreign minister said on Wednesday difficult talks with the United States to repair frayed ties and re-open NATO supply routes to Afghanistan were not being thwarted by a Pakistani demand for high tariffs on the supplies.
Pakistan cut the routes for NATO supplies in November last year to protest against the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers killed in cross-border fire from NATO aircraft.
“Pakistan is not in any sort of price-gouging debate right now. So these impressions are indeed incorrect, wrong and must be dispersed as soon as possible,” Hina told a joint press conference with Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal.
“The US side knows very well the needs and requirements to enable us to move in that direction, to enable us to take that decision,” she said, referring to re-opening the routes.
She did not elaborate.
The US has rebuffed Pakistan’s demands for an apology for the air strike in November in which the 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed and ties have become severely strained.
The foreign minister said Pakistan and US are negotiating new terms and conditions for their future relations based on the recommendations of the parliament of Pakistan and added the issue of fee on the Nato supply routes is not the only hindrance in these relations.
Danish Foreign Minister Sovndal, addressing the media persons, said Pakistan and Denmark have agreed to work together to eliminate the menace of terrorism and enhanced the strategic dialogue for regional peace and development.
He said they had useful talks on issues of common interests between the two countries.
Sovndal acknowledged the sacrifices and contribution of Pakistan in the war against terror, adding that it is the only country in the world that has lost 48,000 civilians and security personnel in the war against terror, besides huge losses to its infrastructure and economy.
Appreciating the democratic government for reforms in the system to further strengthen the democratic process in Pakistan, Sovndal said the government has also taken very bold initiatives to protect human rights and empowerment of women.
Hina said Denmark has assured its cooperation for more access to the European markets for the Pakistani goods.
She said both the countries discussed regional situation especially in the context of Afghanistan and agreed to cooperate with each other to ensure peace and security in the region.
Earlier, the two sides discussed the broad range of Pakistan-Denmark relations including bilateral trade, investment, development assistance and cooperation in the renewable energy sector and human rights.
Both the sides exchanged views on EU-Pakistan relations as well as on the situation in Afghanistan.
Hina congratulated Denmark on assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Danish Foreign Minister Sovndal also called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
President stressed the need for both countries to work together in translating their friendly equation to boost trade. He observed that the existing bilateral trade volume did not commensurate with the available potential.
Zardari proposed a joint working group on economic cooperation be established to promote trade and economic activities.
He appreciated the Danish support for the democracy in Pakistan. He said that the people of Pakistan valued the Danish assistance especially at the times of natural disasters in the country.
He said the success of various Danish companies running profitable business ventures in Pakistan, should serve to encourage other investors and get benefit of the investment-friendly opportunities available in the country.
He said the energy generation and transmission, infrastructure development, agriculture, food processing and industrial manufacturing were some of the important areas, where the Danish businessmen could invest and get benefits.
The President said Pakistan would like to benefit from the Danish expertise in the field of electricity generation through wind energy. He also thanked the Danish government for its support to Pakistan in getting Autonomous Trade Package and inclusion of Pakistan in the GSP plus scheme.
He expressed the hope that the Autonomous Trade Package would be finalised and implemented soon. On Pakistan-EU relations, President said that Pakistan attached great importance to its partnership with the European Union.
Zardari said greater trade access to the EU markets would enable Pakistan to support its economy and continue its struggle against the militants in an effective manner.