Zardari reaches Chicago for crucial NATO summit
Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to have a series of bilateral meetings with several world leaders attending the Chicago summit.
Washington: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has arrived in Chicago to attend the crucial NATO Summit which is expected to take important decisions with regard to the future of Afghanistan, where the stakes of Islamabad are very high.
Zardari is accompanied by Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, and the Foreign Secretary, Jalil Abbass Jilani, besides his spokesman Farhatullah Babar. His first scheduled appointment with the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on Saturday could not take place because of delay in his arrival to Chicago. The meeting is now being rescheduled.
Over the next few days, Zardari is scheduled to have a series of bilateral meetings with several world leaders attending the Chicago summit including the Afghan President and those from Australia and Turkey.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to call on him during his stay in Chicago. Zardari is scheduled to address the extended session of the NATO, which would focus on Afghanistan, on Monday.
No bilateral meeting between Zardari and the US President Barack Obama has been scheduled so far. Obama flew to Chicago from Camp David on Saturday evening after hosting the meeting of G-8 leaders.
Senior Pak officials said that during his meetings in Washington and in his address, Zardari would be presenting Pakistan's view point on Afghanistan and the region.
Earlier during the day, the NATO chief told a Chicago audience the problems in Afghanistan can't be resolved without positive engagement of Pakistan.
Rasmussen said during his meeting with Zardari, he would "convey a couple of clear messages". He did not elaborate on them, even as he spoke on the safe havens inside Pakistan. He said that these problems need to be resolved.
Meanwhile, the officials said negotiations between US and Pakistan officials are continuing on the reopening of the NATO supply route to Afghanistan, which were closed by Pakistan after the November 26 incident in which 24 Pak soldiers were killed in a cross border fire.
Pakistan, so far, has been demanding an apology from the US, which the Obama Administration has refused and said that it deeply regrets the unfortunate incident.