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Afghan President arrives in Islamabad

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, June 10, IRNA -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Islamabad on Friday on a two-day visit to Pakistan to discus reconciliation efforts in the war-ravaged country, officials said.

Pakistan's Sports Minister, Shaukatullah, received the Afghan President on arrival in Islamabad.

It is President Karzai’s second visit to Pakistan in ten months. He last visited Pakistan in September.

Pakistan and Afghanistan will also formally launch a Joint Commission on Reconciliation during President Karzai’s visit, Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad, Omar Daudzai has said.

The commission was launched when Prime Minister Gilani traveled to Kabul in April.

The commission is tasked to carry forward the reconciliation process, following the withdrawal of foreign troops from the insurgency-torn country.

“President Karzai’s visit will contribute to further enhancing friendship and close cooperative ties between the two brotherly peoples and countries,” a Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry statement said.

President Karzai will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, officials said.

He is accompanied by Chairman of the High Peace Council, Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, Foreign Minister, Zalmai Rasool, Defence Minister, General Abdur Rahim Wardag, Interior Minister, Bismellah, Minister for Water and Power, Ismail Khan, Commerce Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi, E Minister for Tribal and Frontier Affairs, Asadullah Khalid, National Intelligence Chief, Rehmatullah Nabeel, Army Chief General Sher Muhammad Karimi, the President’s Chief of Staff, Abdul Karim Khuram, and Deputy Foreign Minister, Javed Ludin.

Daudzai said that Pakistani and Afghan leaders will jointly co-chair the Commission on Reconciliation to formally mark work of the peace body.

He said a mini-joint commission may also be formed to step up reconciliation efforts.

The ambassador said that one of the objectives of the Commission would be paving the way for talks with Taliban and other anti-government groups to end war in Afghanistan.

Both sides will discuss ways about the work of the Commission, he added.

Pakistan and Afghan leaders will also formally launch the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, which was finalized by officials of the two countries in Kabul last month after some amendments.

Sources said Pakistan would raise the issue of recent three attacks in Pakistani territories by armed militants from Afghan side.

Pakistan has already conveyed its concern over these incursions to the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad, US and NATO officials.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have increased contacts in recent weeks in view of the next month the beginning of the phased withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

It is also believed that Pakistan has received assurance from the major Western powers that its genuine concerns in Afghanistan would be addressed in the Afghanistan, which has convinced Islamabad to play active role in the reconciliation process.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the UK special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan and the UK ambassador in Kabul in their recent visit to Pakistan had defended Pakistan's legitimate interests in Afghanistan.

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