Pakistan calls again for apology for NATO strike

 Pakistan calls again for apology for NATO strike

KABUL (Reuters) - Pakistan on Thursday called again for an apology for a NATO cross-border strike that killed two dozen of its soldiers last year before it considers reopening supply routes to foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, speaking to reporters in the Afghan capital Kabul, also rejected reports that Pakistan was haggling with the United States over transportation fees for the supplies.

"Pakistan still wants an unconditional apology and the reassurance that the Salala type of incident does not happen again," she said, referring to the border area where the incident took place.

The supply lines for goods shipped to the Pakistani port of Karachi and trucked to Afghanistan have been vital for U.S.-led forces in their involvement in the landlocked country, a conflict now in its eleventh year.

Now, the routes are seen as important for the withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014.

The United States has rebuffed Pakistan's demands for an apology for the air strike in November and last week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States was at the limits of its patience over the existence of safe havens for militants in Pakistan who were carrying out attacks in Afghanistan.

Khar said Pakistan was not supporting any militant group and that it was doing whatever it could to advance the peace process in Afghanistan which she said must be "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned."

(Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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Updated Date: Jun 15, 2012 02:00:07 IST