President Obama refuses to meet Zardari in Chicago - CurrentNews
US President Barack Obama is at loggerheads with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, refusing to meet him apparently over blockage of. President declines to meet Pakistani counterpart one-to-one in protest at Pakistan refusing to re-open Afghan border to Nato. President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan was snubbed by Barack Obama President Obama refused to meet his Pakistani counterpart Photo: AP.
Obama's relationship with Mr. Karzai - which has been rocky ever since Mr. Obama came into office vowing to end what he viewed as former President George W.
Bush's coddling of the mercurial Afghan leader - looked calm and stable on Sunday. The two men, fresh off Mr. Obama's unannounced trip to Kabul this month to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Mr. Karzai that set the terms for relations after the departure of American troops inpresented a united front before reporters after a one-hour meeting on the outskirts of the NATO summit.
President Obama refuses to meet Zardari in Chicago
It was a sharp contrast with the past, when Mr. There was none of that on Sunday. During their session, the two men joked about limits in both of their countries that would prevent them from serving more than two terms; Mr.
Obama trotted out his familiar "look at all the gray hair I have now" line that he likes using to describe how tough his term has been. Obama said after the meeting, standing next to Mr. Karzai, for his part, said he would work to make sure that Afghanistan is not a "burden on the shoulders of our friends" in the international community.
Obama refuses to meet Zardari: Reports
He credited the strategic partnership agreement, which he says has given Mr. American and Pakistani officials expressed optimism last week that an agreement on re-establishing supply routes was imminent. Negotiators were narrowing their differences after three weeks of intense deliberations, they said, and it was hoped that an invitation for Pakistan to attend the summit would engender the good will needed to close the gap between the two sides.
The invitation was accepted, and Mr. Zardari arrived in Chicago on Saturday. But a deal on the supply lines remained elusive, and Mr. Obama would not meet with Mr. Zardari without it, American officials said. The supply lines, through which about 40 percent of NATO's nonlethal supplies had passed, were closed in late November after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in American airstrikes along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The deaths capped a year of crises between the United States and Pakistan that put immense strain on the two countries' already fragile relationship.
Obama meets Zardari at Nato but signals no end to diplomatic standoff | World news | The Guardian
The failure to strike a deal on the supply routes ahead of the summit injects new tension into the relationship. Without the deal, "it's going to be really uncomfortable" for Mr. Zardari at the summit, which runs through Monday, said the official, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the talks.
American officials said the main sticking point was the amount NATO would pay for each truck carrying supplies from Karachi, on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, to the Afghan border. In its final communique, Nato formally committed to its withdrawal of the ,strong international force from Afghanistan based on a timetable agreed earlier by Obama and Karzai.
All international combat troops would be withdrawn by the end of But the communique said a smaller force would remain to help "train, advise and assist" the Afghan army. The communique does not say how many troops will be left but US commanders in Kabul are looking at a Nato force of around 15, Reflecting the public mood in Nato countries tired of the war, the communique said the withdrawal timetable is "irreversible".
Obama, at the opening of the second day of the Nato summit Monday morning, demonstrated his displeasure with the Pakistan government by singling out for mention the Central Asia countries and Russia that have stepped in to replace the Pakistan supply route. He made no mention of Pakistan, even though Zardari was in the room at the time. To ram home the point, the US defence secretary, Leon Pantetta, also held a meeting at the Nato summit with senior ministers from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Panetta expressed his "deep appreciation" for their support. Pakistan has a crucial role in Afghanistan because of its close ties to the Taliban and other insurgent groups challenging the Afghanistan government. Zardari was invited late to the Nato summit, and the Obama administration had high hopes that he would arrive in Chicago prepared to announce the opening of the supply routes.
Zardari also wants a review of the US policy of drone attacks against targets inside Pakistan and a public apology for the killing of its troops.
Pakistan will regard it as a humiliation that Obama refused to grant Zardari a full bilateral meeting, particularly as he met President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan in Chicago on Sunday an hour before the Nato summit opened.