Islamabad, May 16: Pakistan's relations with the US and NATO are passing through a “delicate phase” and Islamabad needs to make “critical decisions” linked to national interests, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said today against the backdrop of a partial thaw in relations between Washington and Islamabad.
“Our relations with NATO and the US are passing through a delicate phase where we need to take critical decisions keeping in view our strategic importance in the region and our national interests,” Gilani said in his remarks at a meeting of his cabinet that was convened to discuss key issues, including the ending of a nearly six-month blockade of NATO supply routes.
The premier's remarks came a day after the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, the country's highest decision making body on security issues, endorsed President Asif Ali Zardari's participation in a crucial NATO Summit next week and directed officials to conclude negotiations aimed at reopening supply routes for foreign forces in Afghanistan.
NATO yesterday extended an unconditional invitation to President Zardari to attend the summit to be held in Chicago during May 20-21 after Islamabad indicated it was prepared to end the blockade of supply routes imposed after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.
The US had linked Pakistan's participation in the summit to the reopening of the supply lines.
“We did not and will not compromise on our principled stand but would also not take emotional decisions, which do not auger well for us in the long run,” Gilani told the cabinet meeting in an apparent reference to Pakistan's demands for an apology for the NATO attack and for an end to US drone strikes.