US, Qatar talk Afghanistan before Karzai visit
WASHINGTON (PAN): Ahead of a crucial President Hamid Karzai next week's visit to Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned her Qatari counterpart to discuss Afghanistan among other issues, her spokesperson said on Wednesday.
“I'm going to say that they did talk about Afghanistan. They obviously talked about the efforts that we are making,” the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.
Clinton telephoned Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani on Saturday, Nuland said.
"...the government of Qatar is making to try to support the Afghan reconciliation, but I'm not going to get into any further details of that conversation," she said, a day after Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital after doctors found blood clot in her brain. She was discharged on Wednesday.
To a volley of questions on the statement by Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul that Kabul would not recognise a Taliban representative office in Doha unless the group turned up for tallks with it.
Nuland said the US supports an Afghan-led reconciliation process. “We're not going to get ahead of Kabul or anybody else in this process, but we are trying to encourage and support an environment where real talks and real progress can be made,” she said.
The United States, she said, has been working hard to create an environment not only within Afghanistan, but also regionally have support for Afghan-Afghan reconciliation. “We have in our trilateral conversations -- US, Afghanistan and Pakistan -- worked on this quite hard, and we've been encouraging Pakistan and Afghanistan to work directly. So whenever they make progress together, that's something that we support and it needs to be on the basis of dialogue, obviously,” Nuland said.
On the release of Taliban prisoners by Pakistan, Nuland said that it was an issue between the two countries to work on it together and to be able to have the kind of dialogue that allows them to work through these issues and to make sure that they have good management of individuals when they are released.
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