Pakistani leaders harp on US apology for NATO air strike (Lead)

May 22nd, 2012 - 4:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, May 22 (IANS) Pakistan’s demand for the US apology for the NATO air strike in which its 24 soldiers were killed - an incident which has strained bilateral relations — was reiterated Tuesday by Pakistan’s ambassador Sherry Rehman and ruling Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

US President Barack Obama should apologise to Pakistan for the NATO air strike on the Salala border check post that killed 24 soldiers in November, said Bilawal, who is on a visit to the US to “normalise the ties” between the two countries, Dawn News reported.

The continuous drone attacks in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region were a violation of the country’s sovereignty, Bilawal said at a programme in New York.

Bilawal said Obama should apologise to the people of Pakistan over the air strike, as the relations between the two countries were at a critical juncture.

He said his mother, late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, had sacrificed her life for democracy and for women’s rights and that she struggled to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan.

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s envoy to the US, also said that Islamabad was adamant on its demand for an apology for the NATO air strike.

The air strike led Pakistan to close the NATO supply lines to Afghanistan through Pakistani territory and ask the US to vacate the Shamsi air base near Quetta in Balochistan.

Talks are on for the restoration of the supply routes, Rehman told Geo News on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Chicago.

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