Obama supports Afghan-led peace drive
WASHINGTON (PAN): Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his US counterpart Barack Obama have agreed to continue to work together to advance a political settlement of the war in Afghanistan, the White House said on Thursday.
Through a video conference, Obama reaffirmed his administration's support for an Afghan-led political process. The two leaders also agreed on the importance of resolving the issues facing Kabul Bank.
Obama held a monthly situation room meeting with top national security aides and received an update on the ground situation and reviewed the progress made towards the start of the transition process.
"The two leaders spoke for approximately one hour and discussed a number of topics, including the beginning of transition to Afghan security lead, the renewal of the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Declaration and the beginning of US troop reductions in July," the White House said.
During the situation room meeting, Obama was briefed on America's regional diplomatic efforts, including a successful meeting of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan, hosted by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah.
Obama underscored the importance of continued international support for peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, specifically for Afghan-led reconciliation.
"The president received an update on the security situation on the ground, including our efforts to prevent civilian casualties and sustain the gains that have been made over the last several months," the White House said.
Meanwhile, the State Department said International Contact Group meeting focused on a political process towards a durable resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan. The meeting brought together representatives from 49 countries and international organisations.
"There was widespread consensus in support of three mutually reinforcing tracks -- military offensive against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the civilian campaign to build Afghan capacity in support of the transition an intensified diplomatic engagement in support of Afghan-led reintegration and reconciliation efforts," said the State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley.
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