Musazai links strategic deal with APTTA enforcement
KABUL (PAN): Pakistan has delivered the Afghan government a copy of a proposed strategic cooperation agreement between the two countries, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said on Sunday, linking the accord to redressing Afghan traders' right violations in the neighbouring country.
"Afghanistan is committed to enhancing and strengthening strategic relations with Pakistan, but such cooperation will be based on progress in certain areas of joint interest," foreign ministry spokesman Janan Musazai told a press conference in Kabul, as President Hamid Karzai attended a dinner with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari in London hosted by British Prime Minister ahead of a key trilateral summit on Afghanistan.
Without giving details, Musazai said Kabul would like to enter a strategic cooperation agreement with Islamabad if it fully enforced the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).
The landmark agreement, granting Afghanistan important trade concessions, was signed in Kabul on October 28, 2010 between Pakistani Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his Afghan counterpart, Anwarul Haq Ahadi.
Under APTTA, the trucks carrying commercial goods of traders from Afghanistan and Pakistan could easily commute to ports of both countries, in addition to availing other facilities.
Afghan trader say their 4,000 trucks loaded with commercial goods have been stranded in Karachi port over the last two months. Musazai said the failure to implement the trade accord had dealt a serious blow to trade relations among regional countries.
On Taliban's liaison office in Doha, Musazai said its opening depended on the group's willingness to participating in the peace process and officially expressing their readiness for negotiations with the Afghan government. He said some Taliban leaders were willing to join the peace process, but stopped short of giving details.
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