'We are sorry,' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said about a December attack near the Afghanistan border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. That sticking point resolved, a key supply route will reopen, but US-Pakistan ties are weaker now.
The United States relented and formally apologized to Pakistan Tuesday for a border incident seven months ago in which 24 Pakistani soldiers died – paving the way for a reopening of critical supply routes for the war in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a carefully worded statement Tuesday morning that was direct in its apology for the December attack by US helicopters on a Pakistani border outpost, and effusive in its praise of Pakistani leaders and their cooperation with the US.
“We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military,” Secretary Clinton said, using the S-word that President Obama had until now refused to use over the incident, as Pakistan had demanded. Before Tuesday, the US had gone only so far as to “regret” the loss of life.
Clinton went on to say that “we are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again,” before concluding with “our deep appreciation to the Government and the people of Pakistan for their many sacrifices and their critical contribution to the ongoing fight against terrorism and extremism.”
The US apology resolved one of the touchiest disputes between the two countries in what has lately been a testy relationship. But it remains to be seen if the new tone signaled in Clinton’s statement carries over into real improvement in relations.
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