Pakistan, U.S. Settle Travel Issue


WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) — The United States and Pakistan, whose relations are strained, appear to have resolved the issue of travel by their diplomats, sources told Pakistan’s Dawn.

The issue could have escalated, with tough restrictions being placed on travel by their diplomats in the other’s country. Dawn, quoting its sources, reported Pakistan provided the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad with blanket “no objection certificates” for its diplomats after Washington warned it would also restrict travel by Pakistani diplomats.

The report said a U.S. State Department official replied, “I think so too,” when asked to confirm the resolution of the issue.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner had said in his daily media briefing Monday the United States was “working cooperatively with the Government of Pakistan to resolve the issue,” which he said related to the right of diplomats to travel freely within the country where they work under Vienna conventions.

Toner said there had been an incident last week when diplomats were prevented from traveling between Islamabad and Peshawar.

Pakistan has said any restrictions are only for the safety and security of the diplomats as they travel to areas such as Peshawar, which has been scene of much militant violence in the past several months.

Bilateral relations have strained since the May 2 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in his compound deep inside Pakistan by U.S. forces during a raid which was not revealed to Pakistani authorities.

Since then, Pakistan has ordered cuts in the number of U.S. military trainers in the country, while the United States has suspended about $800 million of its defense aid to Pakistan.

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