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NATO Chief Hopes Pakistan Routes To Reopen Soon

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he "hopes" NATO supply routes from Pakistan to Afghanistan will reopen "in the not-too-distant future."

Rasmussen's statement on a visit to the Australian capital, Canberra, came after the United States this week ended talks in Pakistan without a deal to reopen the routes, which have been closed since a NATO air strike in November killed 24 Pakistani troops.

NATO has reached agreements with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan to allow military equipment to be withdrawn from Afghanistan through those nations.

But Rasmussen said the Central Asian alternatives could prove more expensive than the Pakistani option.

Rasmussen also pledged that NATO will not leave behind a "security vacuum" as it withdraws 130,000 NATO-led troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters