Karzai arrives in Pak to discuss peace talks, bilateral ties

Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived on Wednesday on a two-day state visit during which he will discuss with Pakistan`s top leadership a range of issues, including his fresh peace initiative with Taliban.

Updated: Sep 15, 2010, 21:08 PM IST

Islamabad: Afghan President Hamid Karzai
arrived on Wednesday on a two-day state visit during which he
will discuss with Pakistan`s top leadership a range of issues,
including his fresh peace initiative with Taliban.

Pakistan`s Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said
last week that Karzai will discuss his peace plan with
Pakistani leaders during the visit.

President Karzai was received at the Chaklala Air Base
by Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal.
Karzai will hold talks today with his Pakistani
counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and both leaders will address a
joint news conference in Islamabad, officials said.

President Zardari will also host a dinner in honour of
the Afghan President.

Karzai will also meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani and army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

Both countries will explore ways to expand cooperation
in different fields, to further strengthen their strategy
against terrorism and to enhance cooperation in the political,
economic and cultural fields, the Afghan embassy said.

Karzai used his traditional address to the nation on
Eid-ul-Fitr to invite Taliban leader Mullah Omar to hold talks
with the Afghan government. Taliban, however, have said they
will not hold talks unless foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

The Afghan President has set up a high peace council
for talks with Taliban in accordance with the recommendation
of a jirga or council of tribal elders held in June.

The names of the council`s members will be announced
soon, Afghan officials have said.

Karzai will also convey his condolences over losses
during Pakistan`s devastating floods, which have killed over
1,700 people and affected 20 million.

He will hand over USD one million as aid to the
Pakistani government, the embassy said.

The Afghan President is accompanied by Foreign
Minister Zalmai Rasool, Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardag,
National Security Advisor Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, Commerce
Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Ahadi, Finance Minister Hazrat Omar
Zakhelwal, Minister for Frontier and Tribal Affairs Asadullah
Khalid and National Security chief Rehmatullah Nabeel.

Karzai is expected to visit flood-hit areas of
Pakistan, official and diplomatic sources said. He appealed to
Afghans in his Eid address to help Pakistanis in this
difficult time.

Afghanistan has sent four helicopters for rescue and
relief efforts in Pakistan`s flood-affected regions.

PTI