WASHINGTON: Exuding confidence on the reopening of closed NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, a top aide of President Barack Obama has said that the US is moving in the right trajectory with Pakistan on the issue.
"We're moving in the right trajectory and that we can accomplish what is now a shared objective with the Pakistanis at reopening the supply lines," Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters in Chicago.
The remarks by the White House official came hours after the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. "What I will say on the supply lines, for instance, is you've seen very positive statements out of Islamabad about wanting to get this done.
We, of course, have made positive statements as well by wanting to get this done. So now we're in a process of our teams working with through the issues associated with the reopening of the GLOCs (ground lines of communication)," he said.
"We are confident that we're going to be able to accomplish this objective. It's a positive sign that after a difficult period in our relations and a parliamentary review of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, that we're not sitting down at the table and working through difficult issues like the ground supply lines," Rhodes said.
Appearing at the same press conference, General John Allen, Commander of the NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, said that the closure of the supply routes did not had any impact on their operations in Afghanistan.
"With regard to the ground line of communication, it has not, in fact, negatively affected our prosecution of the campaign. Indeed, in some manner, some ways in which we measure our stockage, if you will, of certain capabilities in the battle space, they’re higher today than they were when the ground line of communications were closed," he said.
"But there have been some very positive indications of late with the government in Islamabad about an interest in entering into negotiations, which I think you're all aware of, to open the ground line of communications. I can't tell you when that will occur -- obviously sooner is better than later -- but I can't tell you when that will occur," Allen said.
One of the important realizations of that is that, in fact, the two countries are now talking about it. "That, we view as being positive. We think it's a good indication indicator of an improvement in the relationship. We hope to see that improve even more," said Allen who recently met Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
"I think that the trending right now is in a positive direction with respect to a variety of the conversations between Islamabad and ISAF, and Islamabad and Kabul, and Islamabad and the United States," he said.