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    Kerry stresses Pakistan’s role in Afghan stability

    WASHINGTON (PAN): US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a telephonic conversation with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, discussed Islamabad’s role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan, his spokesperson said on Wednesday.

    “He emphasised that Pakistan and the United States have many shared interests, including fighting terrorism and extremism, supporting democratic civilian institutions and Pakistan's efforts to increase economic growth,” the State Department spokeswoman said.

    Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference the shared interest in regional stability, including a secure and peaceful future for Afghanistan, also came up for discussion during the call.

    Kerry, she said, had a long-standing relationship with many Pakistani leaders. “He used the opportunity of the phone call to underscore the continuing importance of an effective, strong and mutually beneficial US-Pakistani relationship.”

    Nuland added: “He noted our ongoing interest in finding a concrete way to act jointly in support of all of these goals. And he made clear that he looks forward to working with President Zardari going forward,” Nuland said.

    This was Kerry’s first phone call to the Pakistani leadership after he became the secretary of state early this month. He had earlier spoken with President Hamid Karzai.

     “We have been in a good place in recent months -- Afghanistan, Pakistan, US -- in terms of using the core group that we established to support Afghanistan reconciliation to work through some of the practical issues, like safe passage for Taliban who are willing to consider reconciliation, those kinds of things,” she said.

    Some of the moves have been going on between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are having a better dialogue now about facilitating reconciliation, according to the spokeswoman, who hoped that the positive trend would continue.