Wednesday, October 1, 2014

President Karzai and PM Gilani Urge Greater Cooperation for Regional Stability

President Hamid Karzai during his visit to Pakistan said none of the two neighbors can be stable without peace in the other.

President Karzai made the remarks at a joint press conference following talks with Pakistan PM, Yousuf Reza Gilani. The President said, “We in Afghanistan are fully aware and recognize that without Pakistan and without its cooperation with Afghanistan, Afghanistan cannot be stable or peaceful, it is also, I believe, recognized in Pakistan that without a stable and peaceful Afghanistan there cannot be stability or peace in Pakistan,” he said.

Prime Minister Gilani in reply to the need for enhanced cooperation between the two countries said Pakistan will extend all possible help for political stability in Afghanistan.

President Karzai further added that each time he visits Pakistan, the environment for partnership and relations with Pakistan grows friendlier and warmer. The President said he conveyed a message with him that the people of Afghanistan share the grief and sorrow that their Pakistani brothers and sisters have been going though especially in the past two years.

The President urged that increased bilateral cooperation was now more needed than ever before to relieve the suffering and pain.

President Karzai said Afghanistan was prepared to extend all possible help for a regional stability and said his country would not allow its soil to be used against any country and Pakistan. “Afghanistan does not want any proxy wars on its territory. It does not want a proxy war between India and Pakistan on Afghanistan. It does not want a proxy war between Iran and the United States on Afghanistan. It does not want any country… to engage in any activity against another country in Afghanistan,” he added.

In response to a question about India role in Afghanistan, President Karzai said India has an important role in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. It is a historic friend of Afghanistan, and Pakistan too is a brother and as a twin that can’t be separated.

Replying to another question, President Karzai said Afghanistan has nothing to do with drone attacks in Pakistan and called the issue a matter between Pakistan and United States.

Prime Minister Gilani said “In the pursuit of peace and development, for national reconciliation and reintegration, Pakistan places its full weight behind the agenda and the vision outlined by the Afghan people and their elected leadership.”

He said that bilateral trade volume with Afghanistan will be increased and vowed to boost relations with the neighboring country and pledged that we would continue to assist the people of Afghanistan in every manner possible.

Afghanistan and Pakistan Pledge Cooperation

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan met with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani here on Thursday in a show of public friendship, with both leaders stressing that stability for their countries hinged on mutual cooperation.

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, left, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan in Islamabad on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr. Karzai — who is making his first visit to Pakistan since his re-election last year — met with the powerful Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Both countries are central players in American efforts to challenge Taliban militants who use the mountainous and often lawless border region between them as a sanctuary.

“It is the responsibility of our two governments that for the future generations, we remove the dangers and work toward stability and peace in both countries,” Mr. Gilani told a joint news conference with President Karzai, who said Afghanistan and Pakistan were “co-joined twins” whose destinies were interlinked.

Mr. Karzai also tried to assuage widespread public unease here about the growing influence in Afghanistan of India, Pakistan’s regional rival.

“Afghanistan does not want proxy war between India and Pakistan,” Mr. Karzai said but added that he appreciated Indian efforts in Afghan reconstruction.

Mr. Karzai arrived in the Pakistani capital on Wednesday and held talks with President Asif Ali Zardari. Pakistani officials said that the two leaders have a warmer relationship than the frosty ties between Mr. Karzai and Pakistan’s former former president, Pervez Musharraf.

“Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have improved greatly,” said Farahnaz Ispahani, a media adviser to Mr. Zardari.

“The two presidents spoke at great length about security situation and the fight both countries are waging against terrorism, the role of Al Qaeda and Taliban and the best way to deal with them,” Ms. Ispahani said.

Analysts in Islamabad said that President Karzai’s main mission was to seek Pakistani help in promoting conciliatory gestures and peace efforts toward the Taliban, whose fighters face an intensifying war in Afghanistan against the American-led coalition.

In recent weeks, there has been a flurry of arrests of militant leaders in Pakistan, most importantly that of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the No. 2 Taliban figure detained in Karachi last month. However, Pakistani officials have rejected Afghan demands to hand him over.

On Thursday, Mr. Karzai said both countries were working on an extradition treaty.

Before leaving for Pakistan, Mr. Karzai met Wednesday in Kabul with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.

source: The New York Times