msnbc | July 04, 2012
>>> we're back with a major breakthrough. after months of tension between the united states and pakistan , islamabad has given nato the go ahead to move supplies across the border. in a statement, secretary of state hillary clinton said, "we are sorry for the losses suffered by the pakistani military . we are committed to working closely with pakistan and afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again." nbc news pakistan bureau chief joins us here in new york on this fourth of july. amna , was this widely expected?
>> well, richard, we knew that something was in the works. this statement yesterday is the result of months of negotiation between the two sides on a number of issues, not just this apology that much has been made about but also on the cost of containers traveling those supply lines , on the terms of usage of those routes, also on the drone issue we've heard so much about, also on military operations in waziristan, the area bordering afghanistan. there are a number of issues back and forth. both sides had hoped some kind of agreement would be reached soon. those are crucial supply lines for the u.s. finally that came to an end yesterday with secretary clinton's statement.
>> amna , the united states was using routes in russia and china during the blockage. explain to us why this is important strategically when we look at not only the operational capabilities on the ground but also when we look at the issues of policy between the countries and the united states .
>> that alternative route that you mentioned is known as the ndn, the northern distribution network. it is longer. it is more costly for the u.s. to use. and it was costing the u.s. about an additional $100 million a month to travel goods via that route. so the fact that pakistan has reopened these supply lines , they are cheaper, faster, easier for the u.s. to use, and that means serious savings for the u.s. as for the relationship, i think it remains to be seen how things move forward. certainly both sides have said they welcome this move. it's a significant step forward to repairing relations. but those relations have been badly damaged over the last year. so we'll wait to see what comes next. for now, both sides say they're optimistic and committed to moving forward.
>> nbc news pakistan bureau chief amna nawaz.