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Karzai, Sharif Meets Again Ahead of Extended Talks

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ISLAMABAD -President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a second one-on-one meeting in as many days in Islamabad on Tuesday, the state-run Pakistan Television reported. In a brief news bulletin, PTV said the two leaders discussed matters of bilateral interest. It gave no further details of the talks. High-ranking officials are poised to discuss ways of jump-starting the process of reconciliation, both sides said.

On Monday, President Hamid Karzai extended his daylong trip to Pakistan following Islamabad’s offer to help Afghanistan in holding substantive negotiations with the Taliban. At Tuesday’s talks, to be held in the tourist resort of Murree, would focus on fighting terrorism and talking to “reconcilable Taliban”, an Afghan diplomat said

Visiting Islamabad after almost 18 months, Karzai has sought Pakistan’s support for the Afghan-led reconciliation effort and release of Afghan Taliban leaders from Pakistani prisons. Afghanistan will be represented by Karzai’s National Security Advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani and Commerce Minister dr. Anwarul Haq Ahady.

Senior Pakistani security officials will also attend the meeting later in the day, according to Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi, who said the visiting delegation’s extended stay was aimed to lend fresh impetus to the stalled peace drive.

An official of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said the extension of the Afghan president’s visit reflected willingness on both sides to work together for achieving shared objectives of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. As a result of Monday’s meetings, he claimed, Pakistan had been able to restore Karzai’s confidence in its sincere efforts for peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. Sharif would host a working lunch in for the Karzai-led team Murree, the source said. (PAN)

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