Ban upbeat about Karzai's visit to Pakistan
KABUL (PAN): UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has briefed President Hamid Karzai on his trip to Pakistan, where the Afghan leader is due next week on a fence-mending trip, the Presidential Palace said on Wednesday.
During a phone a call on Tuesday evening, the UN chief hoped Karzai's visit, set for Aug. 26, would yield a positive outcome and go a long way in bringing the estranged neighbours closer and strengthening their bilateral cooperation.
A statement from Karzai's office said the two leaders also conferred on preparations for next year's presidential and provincial council elections, which are seen as a milestone in Afghanistan's democratic transition.
Ban invited the president to attend the UN General Assembly to be held in New York in September this year, the statement added. Karzai accepted the invitation and thanked the secretary-general.
The president promised continued efforts at improving Afghan-Pakistan relations, saying he desired peace and stability in the two countries, as well as the region at large. A joint campaign would help achieve the goal, he believed.
During his two-day visit in mid-August, Ban held extensive talks with Pakistan's new political leadership, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He hailed the strong partnership between the UN and Pakistan on a wide range of issues.
At a joint news conference with Sharif in Islamabad on Aug. 14, he hoped Pakistan could build on the recent achievement of its first democratic transition between two civilian governments. “I welcome this milestone and believe this is a fitting time to deepen the already strong bonds between Pakistan and the United Nations.”
He discussed with Sharif a range of topics such as Pakistan’s role at the UN, its valuable contributions to peacekeeping operations and developments in the region, including the situation in Afghanistan.
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