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Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, visited Islamabad today to discuss Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and international issues of mutual interest.

Foreign Minister Spanta called on President Asif Ali Zardari. The President expressed gratitude to the Afghan government for extending warm and traditional hospitality during his visit to Kabul earlier this month. He said he was looking forward to welcome President Karzai to Pakistan.

The President said the Joint Declaration on Directions of Bilateral Cooperation signed during his last visit to Kabul provided the framework for conduct of bilateral relations in future. The two sides will adhere to it for promotion of bilateral relations.

Foreign Minister Spanta held a detailed meeting with Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office. The two Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction on the ongoing multi-track bilateral cooperation and expressed readiness to strengthen this cooperation both at strategic and tactical levels.
Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed the hope that Obama Administration will adopt a comprehensive and holistic approach in addressing the challenge of terrorism in the region. He also hoped that the military surge in Afghanistan would be coupled with political and development surge.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan welcomed the introduction of a moral dimension in US approach to the foreign policy in general and campaign against terrorism in particular.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said it is now universally accepted that the use of force alone will not address the challenge of terrorism. Dialogue with moderate forces and engagement with reconcilable elements is important in controlling the spread of extremism and militancy.

The two Foreign Ministers welcomed the appointment of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as US Special Envoy to the region and hoped that he will comprehensively focus on addressing the menace of extremism and terrorism. The two sides also reiterated to extend full support to Jirga process to pursue the dual objectives of dialogue and development. They also agreed that closer bilateral cooperation was necessary to control the two-way movement of militants and miscreants on Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

30 January 2009

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