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Karzai off to London for talks with UK leaders

Karzai off to London for talks with UK leaders

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On
Feb 28, 2011 - 15:12

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai left on Monday for London on a three-day state visit for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron and other leaders, his office said.

Heading a high-level delegation, the president will also meet British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Crown Prince Charles and members of UK Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.

Talks between the two sides will focus on expanding bilateral relations and British assistance to Afghanistaninfo-icon beyond the 2014 handover of security to Afghan forces.

On Tuesday, Karzai will attend a gathering along with Defence Secretary Liam Fox, Under Secretary of State Alistair Burt, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Sir David Richards and the Department for International Development chief.

A statement from the Presidential Palace said the meeting would discuss the regional situation, the transition to Afghan security lead, development projects and peace talks with militants.

The president will also attend a gathering of British investors, to be hosted by Burt. The participants will confer on boosting economic cooperation between the United Kingdom and Afghanistan.

During the visit, Karzai will visit the British Museum to open an exhibition. As many as 231 rare Afghan artifacts will remain on display at the museum for four months.

Karzai is accompanied by his Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Economic Advisor Sham Lal Batija, Afghanistan Investment Support Agency chief, Noorullah Dilawari, and chief presidential spokesman, Waheed Omar.

With about 9,500 of its forces serving in the country, Britain is the second largest troop contributor to the NATOinfo-icon-led International Security Assistance Force More than 350 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

pr/mud

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