ISLAMABAD: The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding restoration of Nato supplies has been signed between Pakistan and the United States on Tuesday, Geo News reported.
The MoU was signed by US Charge D'Affaires Richard Hoagland and Additional Secretary of Defense Ministry Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmad in Rawalpindi. The Federal Cabinet had last week approved the draft of MoU.
The accord became operational after formal signing by the two countries. It will be effective till December 31, 2015 and could be extended for one year after consultations.
Hoagland hailed it as a "demonstration of increased transparency and openness" between the two governments and said $1.1 billion owed to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund will be released following the signing of the MOU.
The draft which has been prepared according to the UN charter will not allow the transport of arms and ammunition into Afghanistan via Pakistan. However military equipment for the Afghan National Army will be allowed.
Transport of non-lethal cargo which includes food and medicine will be allowed in containers measuring 20 by 40 feet.
Two routes will be used by containers carrying NATO supplies. Containers on the southern route will travel to Afghanistan from Karachi (Bin Qasim Port) via Chaman. On the northern route, containers will travel from Karachi (Bin Qasim Port) via Torkham to Afghanistan.
The MoU further states that there will be no warehouses or storage facilities provided for American goods and no new no objection certificates (NOCs) will be required for the transit. Pakistan will also be allowed to stop the transit of goods which fall outside the parameters of the MoU.
Pakistan will also provide facilities for the security and quick transfer of the cargo and will keep the US government informed about the monitoring and transit points of the cargo. Containers travelling to Afghanistan will be bound to return via Pakistan.
There will be no tax or duty charged on the containers however commercial carriers will have to pay fees. New fees can also be introduced for the quick transfer of cargo.
Pakistan's Defence Ministry will act as a Central Coordination Authority and review the daily operations and implementation of the supply route.
Officials from both countries will meet once every two months to evaluate the implementation of the MoU. According to the draft, any misunderstanding will be cleared through mutual understanding and not a third party.
It is clearly written in the draft that commercial carriers will be responsible for any damage to the goods.
Both countries will also have to inform each other in writing if they want to discontinue the MoU.