Islamabad: British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Tuesday expressed concern at Pakistan's six-month blockade of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, saying he hoped Islamabad and Washington would be able to work together to resolve the matter.
Addressing a news conference after a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, Hague said a "rift" between Pakistan and the US would be a greater problem than the closure of the supply lines for foreign troops in Afghanistan.

"This is an issue of concern to the UK. Those lines of communication affect us as well...We look to the US and Pakistan to work successfully together. Of greater concern to us even than those lines of communication would be a rift between the US and Pakistan," he said.

Responding to a question on whether Britain could help resolve the differences between Pakistan and the US, Hague said he had not come to Islamabad to mediate between the two sides or to work out a separate agreement on transporting supplies to Afghanistan.

"It's important that the US and Pakistan are able to work together, but I have not come here on Tuesday to try to adjudicate or mediate on those things.

As a firm ally of the US and a deep friend of Pakistan, we hope the US and Pakistan will be able to work successfully together in the future," he said.

After a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, Islamabad closed all supply routes to Afghanistan.

Pakistan and the US have not been able to make a breakthrough in talks on reopening the supply lines due to several factors, including Islamabad's insistence on an apology for the NATO attack and the fees to be paid for containers and tankers going to Afghanistan.

Hague said it was in the interest of Pakistan and the US to be able to work together.


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