US President Barack Obama will not offer formal condolences — at least for now — to Pakistan for the deaths of 24 soldiers in Nato airstrikes last week, overruling state department officials who argued for such a show of remorse to help salvage US’s ties with Pakistan, officials said.
On Monday, Cameron Munter, the US ambassador to Pakistan, told White House officials that a formal video statement from Obama was needed to help prevent the rapidly deteriorating relations between Islamabad and Washington from cratering, officials said.
While defence department officials did not deny some American culpability, they said expressions of remorse offered by senior department officials and secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton were enough, for now. White House officials said Obama was unlikely to say anything further on the matter in the coming days.
The American and Pakistani accounts of the strikes vary. Pakistan, rejecting the US account, has blocked all Nato supplies that cross the border into Afghanistan and will stay away from an international meet on Afghan security.