WASHINGTON: Upbeat on the notion that the blocked NATO supplies are about to restore, the Pentagon on Tuesday said it was working to get over obstacles with Pakistan so as to reinvigorate its partnership with Islamabad.
"We, at the end of the day, believe that we share common interests with Pakistan. The relationship, we believe, is getting to where it needs to be, and that's why we're committed to ongoing dialogue not just on GLOCs (ground lines of communication) and on terrorism but across the full range of security issues that we have common interest on," acting assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, George Little, told reporters.
Pakistan closed the routes, known as ground lines of communication, after a Nov. 26 incident in which scores of Pakistani soldiers were martyred by US forces. Pakistan responded by closing the main overland supply routes for U.S. and NATO forces into Afghanistan.
U.S. logistics specialists quickly shifted to other means to supply the forces, but the routes through Pakistan are considered the most direct and most cost-effective.
Little said the US has got a team that's been in discussions with the government of Pakistan for some time on the reopening of the ground lines of communication.
"We are hopeful that in the very near future they will be reopened. They are important supply routes for us," he said.
"We continue to work closely with the Pakistanis to renew a vibrant relationship that gets over some of the obstacles we've faced together in the past. On the issue of terrorism, look, this is a common concern for both the United States and Pakistan. The secretary's been very clear on this on repeated occasion," he noted.
"The same terrorists that come after us go after Pakistanis and have been in fact responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis. So we have common cause on the issue of counter-terrorism. And our counter-terrorism cooperation does continue," Little said.
Responding to a question whether the US would apologize for the November 26 incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Little remained non-committal.
"I would reiterate what we've said in December, and that is that we've expressed deep regret and extended our condolences to the Pakistani people, to the Pakistani government and of course to the families of the loved ones who were lost, and of course those who were injured in the incident as well," he said.
"So we have been clear about expressing regret for that incident. And the goal now is to press ahead, move forward and reinvigorate the relationship with our Pakistani partners," Little said.