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    Talks on strategic pact moving in right direction: official

    KABUL (PAN): Negotiations over a strategic cooperation agreement with the United States are going in the right direction, a foreign ministry official said on Sunday, days after the talks resumed.

    “A fresh round of talks will take place in Kabul,” foreign ministry spokesman, Janan Musazai, told a news conference. “The quality and content of agreement are more important to us than the early signing of the pact.”

    The negotiations have been positive so far, according to the spokesman, who said media representatives would be informed as and when a new development took place with regard to the agreement.

    A four-day traditional Loya Jirga on the strategic cooperation pact with the US in November last year issued a 76-article declaration, giving a green signal to the creation of American bases in the country for a decade.

    The agreement was necessary for strengthening Afghanistan's economy, delegates at the assembly said in the declaration, which underlined respect for the Afghan culture, traditions and religion.

    Articles 2 and 3 of the non-binding declaration asked the US to respect Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and constitution. Nighttime operations should be conducted exclusively by Afghan forces, the declaration added.

    Musazai said Korea had pledged $500 million in grant to Afghanistan for development projects and strengthening the Afghan National Army (ANA) until 2015. $50 million aid has been received by the Defence Ministry.

    mm/ma/mud



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