US President Barack Obama is at loggerheads with his Pakistani corresponding person Asif Ali Zardari, refusing to meet him it appears that over blockage of NATO supply lines into Afghanistan, an issue which continues to strain ties between two nations, American media reports said on Monday.
'The New York Times' said a deal to resurrect the supply lines fell apart as Obama began talks on ending the NATO alliance's contest role in Afghanistan in 2013.
Zardari, who flew to Chicago with hopes of thrilling his physique with a meeting with Obama, was preparing to leave empty-handed as the 2 countries continued to feel the repercussions of a fatal American air strike last November, for which the US President has offered condolences but no apology, the paper said.
But White House second-in-command National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that President Obama could not meet Zardari as he had a "full slate of summit meetings to attend".
"But we don't expect any other bilateral meetings so we didn't draw that linkage. We're going to continue to work through the issue with the Pakistanis," he said.
Zardari did, however, meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the provide routes.
A State Department official later said that Clinton and Zardari talk about the significance of reopening NATO supply lines and of taking joint action against the fear groups, in Af-Pak region including al-Qaeda and Haqqani.
"This whole breakdown in the relationship between the US and Pakistan has come down to a addiction of this apology issue," Vali Nasr, a former State Department adviser on Pakistan, was quoted as saying by the daily.
The grouping of no apology and no meeting, Nasr said, "will send a powerfully embarrassing message back to Pakistan." According to the daily, the failure to strike a deal on the supply routes ahead of the summit injects new tension into the relationship.
"When NATO extended the request, we thought it would move the Pakistanis off the dime," a senior American official was quoted as saying.
Without the deal, "it's going to be really uncomfortable" for Zardari at the summit, which runs through Monday, the official told 'The New York Times'. (Google)