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U.S. and Afghanistan Complete Third Round of Strategic Partnership Talks

Officials from the U.S. and Afghanistan engaged in the third round of talks on the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership on September 25, 2008 in Washington, D.C. The Strategic Partnership is a dialogue that outlines shared interests between the two countries in enhancing long-term security, democracy and prosperity in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin D. Spanta led the Afghan delegation in the talks, while the U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte. The talks focused on four key issues: governance, prosperity, security and counter-narcotics.

In a press conference, Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte highlighted the importance of the dialogue. "Today's meeting underscores our commitment to the objectives of enhancing the long-term security, democracy and prosperity of Afghanistan -- the objectives that President Bush and President Karzai laid out when they created the Strategic Partnership in May of 2005," he stated. "Through senior level dialogue, such as these, we will seek to improve bilateral cooperation to address near and long-term challenges."

Foreign Minister Spanta cited the role of the talks in helping create a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. "The discussion today on four topics -- governance, security, prosperity, counternarcotics -- is the base of our comprehensive strategy to bring Afghanistan, as Islamic nation, to the family of civil democracies of this world," he noted. "My president and our government, we are committed to working, to increase close cooperation with you, closely from day to day. We will use this opportunity with you together to look for the ways –- how we can make the things better. And this is also the prerequisite of cooperation among friends, to discuss with each other, to have sometimes, different position, to create, to shape a common strategy."

The day of discussions closed with the signing of a Joint Statement by Foreign Minister Spanta and Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte. The statement outlined the substance of the discussions and stressed that both countries "recommit themselves to shared efforts towards Afghanistan’s commitment to join the family of nations as a secure, prosperous, progressive and democratic nation."

The Afghan delegation included Minister of Defense General Abdul Rahim Wardak, National Security Advisor Dr. Zalmai Rasoul, Director of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance Mr. Jelani Popal, Chief Advisor for the Anti-Corruption Department Mr. Mohammad Yasin Osmani, Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Nadera Hayat Burhani, Deputy Minister of Finance Mr. Wahid Ullah Shahrani, Deputy Minister of Justice Mr. Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai, Deputy Minister of Interior Mr. Haidar Basir and Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics Gen. Daud Daud.

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