CHICAGO - Meeting US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of Nato Summit in Chicago on Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari made it clear in unequivocal terms that drones must stop. Sources said that President Zardari told his American counterpart that drone attacks must stop as they serve as a negative factor for bilateral ties. Both presidents also discussed bilateral ties, particularly restoration of Nato supplies, Pakistan’s demand for US apology over Salala killings, and future of Afghanistan after the pullout. Reports, however, had cited earlier that Obama was initially reluctant in seeing President Zardari. Later, in his speech at the summit, President Zardari said it has ordered negotiators to conclude a deal with the United States to reopen vital supply routes to Nato convoys, as the alliance’s chief expressed optimism that an agreement was near.In a speech to leaders from countries in the Nato-led force in Afghanistan, President Asif Ali Zardari said the cabinet’s Defense Committee “decided to direct the relevant officials to conclude negotiations for resumption of the Ground Lines of Communication” needed to supply foreign troops in Afghanistan.Islamabad shut the supply routes in November after a US air strike left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that he expected Pakistan eventually to reopen the border crossing to allied convoys despite failing to reach a deal at a summit in Chicago.“We didn’t expect an agreement on the Pakistan transit routes to be reached at this summit. That was not planned,” Rasmussen said.But he added: “I express some optimism as regards the possibility to see a reopening of transit routes in the very near future.” In his address, Zardari called the botched air raid “a serious setback” that “required that we review our engagement and cooperation.” The Pakistani parliament “has spoken in favor of cooperation and a partnership approach,” he said.A report meanwhile said President Zardari announced a total of 20 million US dollars aid for Afghanistan, out of which five million dollar for Afghan national security forces whereas remaining 15 million US dollars for training and other equipments.“The president said that Pakistan wanted to find a permanent solution to the drone issue as it not only violated our sovereignty but also inflamed public sentiments,” Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement. Babar was mainly referring to President Zardari’s meeting with Hillary Clinton. Zardari also called for the United States to do more to make amends for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers killed in November by US aircraft along the border with Afghanistan.Zardari also voiced support for efforts to broker a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban, whose leaders are believed to live in Pakistan.“The president said that Pakistan strongly supports an intra-Afghan and Afghan-led reconciliation process and believes that no military solution alone can find a permanent resolution to the problem of militancy and extremism,” Babar said. Babar told reporters that “President Zardari dispelled the misperceptions about the alleged links of Pakistan with groups of militants.” In this respect, the president referred to the immense sacrifices Pakistan has made in fighting militants with 37,000 of its civilians dead and 6,000 of its soldiers killed.“Our sacrifices are second to none,” Zardari said, according to the spokesman. Economically too, Islamabad has incurred a huge loss of $70 billion due to prolonged war on terror.“We do not lack the will” but we don’t have the resources (to prosecute the fight against terror more effectively - We call upon the international community to help us in capacity building.” Babar said, quoting the president.On the unresolved issue of ground lines of communication for Nato supplies into landlocked Afghanistan, the spokesman, echoing the president, said Pakistan is committed to helping the international presence in Afghanistan.“However, the international community should also share the financial cost of services and goods involved in ensuring the international presence in Afghanistan.”The Pakistani officials said President Zardari also raised the issues of non-payment of coalition support fund, drone attacks and apology over Salala tragedy.Islamabad has not received any CSF disbursement since July 2010.President Zardari also made the argument in favour of trade expansion, instead of dependence on aid, as the preferred way to economic development.He also called for sharing counterterrorism intelligence to prosecute an effective war against terrorism.In his meetings, Zardari said Pakistan stands for peace and stability in Afghanistan. He stressed the importance of long-term engagement in the region. Ambassador Sherry Rehman said Zardari’s meetings took place in a constructive and positive atmosphere.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 22-May-2012 here.