Focused on Afghan peace, London talks begin today
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai will join British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at a dinner at Chequers in Buckinghamshire, southeast England, on Sunday, ahead of a key summit on Afghanistan.
The trilateral summit on Sunday and Monday is part of the UK's efforts to help strengthen Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and to discuss the prevention of a Taliban resurgence when foreign troops leave.
The meeting will bring together political and security establishments from both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with discussions are expected to focus on the Afghan-led peace process and Pakistan's role in this connection.
Karzai, who flew to London on Saturday, said an accelerated peace drive in Afghanistan and strengthened cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and extremism would top on the agenda for the summit.
A statement from the Presidential Palace quoted Karzai as saying the trilateral process sent a very clear message to the Taliban: now is the time for everyone to participate in a peaceful political process in Afghanistan.
Pakistan often claims it fully supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.
Last August, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf discussed the reconciliation efforts with Afghan leadership during a visit to Kabul.
Monday’s talks will be the third trilateral session since last year, after meetings in Kabul in July and in New York in September, when Zardari, Karzai and Cameron held talks at the UN headquarters on the sidelines of the annual meeting of UN heads of state and government.
Karzai is accompanied by Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassul, National Security Advisor Dr. Dadfar Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, head of security transition commission, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, advisor to president in international affairs, Yahya Maroofi and presidential spokesman, Aimal Faizi in the trip.
Cameron's office said peace process, recent progress on peace and pushing for a strategic agreement between Afghanistan-Pakistan would be discussed in the summit.
“As the prime minister has set out previously, a stable Afghanistan is not just in the interests of Afghans, but also in the interests of their neighbours and the UK.
“We share the same vision for Afghanistan: a secure, stable and democratic country that never again becomes a haven for international terror.
“We are working together to achieve it and Afghanistan’s neighbours have a vital role to play. It is vital not just for the future security of their citizens, but for their prosperity too."
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