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    Karzai off to Lisbon for key NATO summit

    KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai, heading a high-level delegation, on Thursday left for Lisbon, Portugal, to attend the key NATO summit to chart a course for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

    The summit will be held in Lisbon on Friday and Saturday, with talks expected to center on the situation in Afghanistan, the president's office said.

    In his address to the 28-nation NATO alliance, president Karzai would highlight the Afghan government's strategy and proposals aimed at an enduring cooperation with NATO member states, the Karzai office said in a statement.

    It said the president was expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, at the end of the summit.

    Karzai would meet representatives of the United Nations, NATO, prime ministers of UK, Australia and Holland, besides leaders of the European Union.

    He is also expected to meet with the US foreign secretary, Hillary Clinton, and other world leaders on the sidelines of the moot.

    His meetings with world leaders would focus on the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, strengthening of Afghan forces and economic development of the war-torn country.

    Foreign minister, Dr. Ghulam Rassoul, defence minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, presidential advisor on security, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, chief advisor to the president, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and his spokesman, Waheed Omar, were accompanying the president.

    The summit is seen an important opportunity to discuss transitioning security responsibility to Afghan authorities, in particular, the summit will be an opportunity for the international community to set out further detail on the objective of Afghan authorities assuming lead responsibility for security by the end of 2014.

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