US, China leaders discuss Af-Pak situation
WASHINGTON (PAN): Leaders from the United States and China discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan on the sidelines of the third round of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue that was kicked off in Washington on Tuesday.
The Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mark Grossman, led the US delegation to a separate session on Af-Pak situation attended by top officials from both the countries.
This is for the first time that Af-Pak was included in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue; which has been held twice in the past.
“There was an exchange between the two sides on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Grossman was able to exchange views with his counterpart,” a senior Administration official said.
“For the past couple of years – there was a statement of our views on the situation in both countries – and an expression of a desire to see if we could cooperate to further our common interests in instability in the region and in countering threats from terrorism and other issues,” the official said.
“There was a general discussion as well of whether there are things we could do on the development front in the region as well,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that with US troop reductions to begin in July and the transition scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014, the ability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to stand up and secure the country is vital.
Afghans must take responsibility for their own future – for providing security, for strengthening governance, and for reaching a political solution to the conflict,” Kerry said.
“We have to determine if the government of Afghanistan and the Afghan National Security Forces have the tools they will need to secure their country. If they are not developing greater capabilities, we need to understand why,” he said in a statement.
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