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President Karzai Meets President Zardari in Turkey

President Hamid Karzai and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan met in Turkey on December 5 to discuss the shared challenge of terrorism and deepen ties between the two countries. The meeting between the two leaders was hosted by Turkish Prime Minister Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This was the second time the three leaders have met; they first convened in April 2007.

In a joint statement after the meeting, the three leaders reitirated their commitment to working together on issues related to security, stability, peace and economic development. Specific to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the leaders stated their support for the "ongoing comprehensive process of constructive engagement between Afghanistan and Pakistan including security and counter-terrorism as well as initiatives taken by both sides to promote future perspectives for common development." In order to facilitate trilateral cooperation, a working group proposed a framework that included three elements - development, dialogue and security.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have grown closer since President Zardari was elected in September 2008. In late October, Foreign Minister Rangin D. Spanta met with his Pakistani counterpart, where they pledged to work more closely to battle terrorism and extremism. During the same month, representatives from Afghanistan and Pakistan met to discuss reconciliation efforts with certain sectors of the Taliban as part of a larger strategy to attack terrorism in the region.

Related News: Afghanistan, Pakistan Vow to Improve Bilateral Ties (Xinhua)

                      Text of Joint Statement Between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey

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