Afghanistan confirms trilateral meeting with Pakistan in Turkey

26 Eylül 2008 - 09:50Son Güncelleme : 26 Eylül 2008 - 10:04

The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan will hold a three-way meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the near future, Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta said on Thursday, confirming earlier media reports.

Gul invited Afghan President Hamid Karzai to a meeting with President Asif ali Zardari, Spanta said, speaking after talks in Washington with Deputy U.S. Secretary of State John Negroponte.  

"In principle, he accepted this invitation. We have to look for a date which is acceptable for the three parties," he told reporters at the State Department.

Spanta also said he did not doubt the "determination and will" of newly-elected civilian government in Pakistan to address terrorism.

Spanta said the first such trilateral had been hosted by the Turkish president a year and a half ago "and we continue this trilateral institution as a possibility to continue the discussion."

As for the new Pakistani government, "We have to give them more time and a chance for -- to be in charge on the security and military issues," Spanta said.

Spanta made the announcement as tensions between Pakistan and foreign forces based in Afghanistan continued to rise.

On Thursday, Pakistani troops fired on NATO-led helicopters operating in eastern Afghanistan, saying they had breached Pakistani airspace, an allegation denied by the International Security Assistance Force.

Tensions had been ratcheted up earlier by a series of U.S. missile strikes on Al-Qaeda-linked militants and an incursion by U.S. soldiers into tribal areas just inside Pakistan in the rugged and volatile border area with Afghanistan.

Spanta was part of a large delegation from Afghanistan which held talks with senior U.S. officials in Washington on the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership, launched in 2005 by President George W. Bush and Karzai.

Negroponte told reporters that "significant progress" had been made in Afghanistan over the last seven years, with many top leaders of the Taliban and al Qaeda captured or killed.

He also said U.S. forces in Afghanistan take "every precaution" to avoid harming any civilian during military operations. Karzai is expected to bring up civilian casualties when he sees Bush at the White House on Friday.

Turkey has of late been playing a great role on the global stage.

It has been mediating between Syria and Israel, taking some kind of a role in Iran’s nuclear dispute and finally working on the formation of a Caucasus alliance, even discussing the issue with Armenia, a country that it has no diplomatic relations with.

 

 

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