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"Progress" in Afghanistan-Pakistan dialogue, John Kerry says

Other News Materials 24 April 2013 23:25 (UTC +04:00)
Top Afghan and Pakistani officials "made progress" on overcoming their differences during special talks on Wednesday, but now have to head back to their countries to do some "homework," US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
"Progress" in Afghanistan-Pakistan dialogue, John Kerry says

Top Afghan and Pakistani officials "made progress" on overcoming their differences during special talks on Wednesday, but now have to head back to their countries to do some "homework," US Secretary of State John Kerry said, DPA reported.

"Everybody here agreed today that we will continue a very specific dialogue on both the political track as well as the security track," Kerry said. "All of us agreed we are committed to try to find stability and peace within both countries and the region itself."

Kerry hosted the talks between the two neighbours in Brussels, a day after discussing the war in Afghanistan and other issues with NATO foreign ministers in the Belgian capital.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been strained by cross-border violence. Afghanistan says Pakistan supports Afghan insurgents based on its territory. Pakistan denies the allegations.

Smoothing over tensions between the two sides is seen as key to ensuring long-term peace in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, were among the officials taking part in the talks, but neither planned to address the press after, Kerry said.

"There's good feeling among all of us that we made progress in this dialogue ... But we have all agreed that results are what will tell the story, not statements at a press conference," he noted.

"We are not going to raise expectations or make any kind of promises that can't be delivered," Kerry added. "Frankly, we all agreed that it's better for our populations to have a sense that we're going to under-promise, but deliver." Ahead of the meeting, Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister had said that the goal was "to reach stability and integrate the Talibans' leaders into a peace settlement."

"Pakistan holds the main key for the terrorism suffered by Afghanistan," Jawed Ludin noted, speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Swedish Foreign Minster Carl Bildt.

Bildt announced that Sweden would contribute up to 200 soldiers to train and advise the Afghan army after the NATO-led alliance withdraws combat troops in 2014. Germany had previously pledged 600-800 soldiers to the NATO training force.

Next year will be "a critical transformational period," Kerry noted.

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