Senate of Pakistan

British PM to host Zardari, Karzai for talks on smooth transition

February 4, 2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron will meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai this weekend as part of moves to prevent a Taliban resurgence when foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, Downing Street said on Saturday.

Cameron will dine with Zardari and Karzai at his country retreat Chequers in Buckinghamshire, southeast England, on Sunday. He will then hold the first in-depth top-level talks with both leaders and their key officials on Monday.

“The prime minister will host the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan at Chequers on Sunday and Monday as part of his ongoing efforts to help to strengthen Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, support an Afghan peace and reconciliation process and promote regional peace and stability,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“For the first time, we will bring together the political and security establishments from both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with foreign ministers, chiefs of army staff, chiefs of intelligence and the chair of the Afghan High Peace Council attending the meeting,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said, “Discussions are expected to focus on the Afghan-led peace process and how the Pakistanis and international community can support it. We also expect the Afghans and Pakistanis to make further progress on the Strategic Partnership Agreement they committed to in September.”

Back in December, Cameron had announced Britain would withdraw 3,800 of the country’s 9,000 troops from Afghanistan in 2013, as Nato prepares for a full security handover to Afghan forces at the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, Monday’s talks will be the third trilateral session since the summer of 2012, after meetings in Kabul in July and in New York in September.

By: Express Tribune


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