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Karzai, Clinton Discuss Reconciliation Drive

Sec. Of State Clinton Meets With Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Washington – Ahead of a crucial summit at the White House, visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a wide range of issues, including the presence of US forces in his country after 2014.

Clinton hosted a working dinner for Karzai and his delegation, which was preceded by a one-on-one meeting between the two. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also attended the dinner. No details of the meeting were available immediately.

“This is a great opportunity for us to attempt in a very humble way to repay some of the hospitality I have enjoyed over the years,” Clinton said during a brief photo-opportunity.

Earlier in the day, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, giving a preview of the meeting, told reporters a full range of issues were going to be discussed. “Obviously, aspects of security transition, elections in 2014, economic transition, regional integration and support for the reconciliation efforts will all be central themes in the discussions.”

With regard to reconciliation, she said they were looking forward to hearing from President Karzai on the issue. There had been some modest steps forward in recent months, including a commitment by Pakistan to support the process, she added. “Some of the work we’ve been doing in the core group US- Afghanistan-Pakistan to pave the way and ease the conditions for those Taliban who might need safe passage to go have conversations.

As we discussed here, we also had some track-2 discussions, Afghans and Taliban in Paris about a month and a half ago that could potentially be built on,” Nuland observed. (PAN)

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