Pakistan PM: closure of NATO routes harms ties with US

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's prime minister said on Tuesday his country's closure of routes used to supply NATO troops in Afghanistan was damaging ties with the United States, in the clearest signal yet of a breakthrough following seven months of stalemate.

"The continued closure of supply lines not only impinges on our relationship with the U.S., but also on our relations with the 49 other member states of NATO/ISAF," Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told senior government and military officials, according to a statement issued by his office.

The two countries are expected to announce a deal to reopen the routes, shut since 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by NATO aircraft last November, as early as Tuesday evening.

Ashraf's statements were made at the beginning of a meeting of the defence committee of the Pakistani cabinet. Following the meeting, no decision was immediately announced to reopen the closed routes, which have become a headache for NATO nations, costing the United States an extra $100 million a month.

(Reporting by Sheree Sardar; writing by Missy Ryan; editing by Andrew Roche)

Updated Date: Jul 03, 2012 23:16 PM

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