Pakistan and Afghanistan on Friday decided to accelerate efforts for peace and reconciliation with Taliban insurgents and expand bilateral cooperation in all fields, including trade, for a better future of the people of the two countries and to promote peace and security in the region.
Addressing a joint press conference at the Aiwan-e-Sadr after holding bilateral talks, President Asif Ali Zardari and his Afghan counterpart President Hamid Karzai said they had “very fruitful and comprehensive talks” and were looking forward to having more cordial relations between the two countries.
Zardari said Pakistan always supported Afghan-led reconciliation process and assured that it would continue its cooperation with Afghan leadership in this regard. “I assured my brother Karzai that Pakistan is always with Afghanistan and supports the Afghan-led peace process. We support the people and government of Afghanistan.
We cannot expect peace in the region without peace in Afghanistan,” President Zardari said. Zardari called for transforming the Transit Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan into a trilateral transit trade agreement with the central Asian republics. President Zardari made the recommendation after two meetings – one-on-one with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and later at the delegation-level talks headed by the two presidents at the Presidency.
Briefing reporters, president’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said matters related to bilateral relations, Pak-Afghan Transit Trade agreement, shared threat of militancy and terrorism, need for working out joint strategy, enhancing various modes of connectivity and speedy implementation of mega connectivity projects and situation in the region were discussed.
This was followed by detailed discussion on bilateral matters. The two presidents, during their one-on-one and delegation-level meetings, agreed to accord high priority to the development agenda and to take steps to further promote economic and trade cooperation besides focusing on issue of security.
The two presidents also agreed to develop mechanism to implement mega projects like Peshawar-Jalalabad-Herat Expressway and Peshawar-Jalalabad rail link.
Progress in the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and CASA-1000 projects was also reviewed and their speedy execution emphasised by the two presidents.
Zardari said Pakistan had always taken principled stance to support efforts intended to bring peace, prosperity and stability to Afghanistan. He said Pakistan had always supported and would continue to support an Afghan-led peace process in Afghanistan. Addressing the participants of a banquet held in the honour of the Afghan president, Karzai repeated his call for Pakistan to help end a 10-year Taliban insurgency.
Earlier, Karzai flew in with a delegation of cabinet ministers, security chiefs and members of a peace council.