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Foreign Minister Spanta Holds Bilateral Meeting with Secretary Clinton

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin D. Spanta held a bilateral meeting with Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton during the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral meeting on May 7.

He thanked Secretary Clinton for organizing the second round of the trilateral discussions and pointed out that the Afghan and Pakistani delegations had substantive discussions on a number of key issues, including foreign policy and regional cooperation, agriculture, finance, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and law enforcement.

Secretary Clinton commented on the Border Coordination Centers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the trade transit agreement between the two countries as key areas for cooperation. She extended U.S. support to both countries to implement these and other important projects to facilitate regional trade and to prevent cross-border illegal activities including terrorism and drug-trafficking. Foreign Minister Spanta emphasized the importance of enhancing institutional trust between the two countries and called for sincere cooperation by Pakistan's security institutions with their Afghan counterparts.

Secretary Clinton expressed her sincere regret over the recent civilian casualties caused by the coalition bombing in Farah province and welcomed the joint investigation underway. She supported the existing mechanisms of civil-military coordination and asked for these institutions to be further strengthened and utilized effectively to prevent civilian casualties in the future.

Foreign Minister Spanta noted that Afghanistan had made significant progress in various sectors, particularly education, health, and community development programs. Secretary Clinton spoke very highly of the National Solidarity Program - which reaches over 20,000 villages across Afghanistan. She said that these and other national achievement stories in Afghanistan must be shared with the broader public. She pledged support for strategic communication and public diplomacy programs in Afghanistan, for which Foreign Minister Spanta expressed his appreciation.

National Security Adviser Dr. Zalmay Rasoul and Afghan Embassy Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari accompanied the foreign minister to the bilateral meeting. U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and the new U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry also attended the meeting.

Related News: President Karzai Meets President Obama in Washington

                      U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations

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