Pakistan, Afghanistan aim for peace in six months
London: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari have said they will work towards a peace deal for Afghanistan within six months.
The two presidents, who had talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, said they would "take all necessary measures" to achieve such a goal, reports the BBC. They backed the opening of an Afghan office in Doha and urged the Taliban to do the same for talks to take place.
They reaffirmed their aim to work towards a strategic partnership. They also said they hoped to sign an agreement strengthening ties on economic and security issues, including trade and border management, later in the year.
The talks - held at the UK prime minister`s Chequers country retreat north of London - is the third round of discussions since Cameron instigated the trilateral process last year. Foreign ministers, military leaders and intelligence chiefs attended the talks for the first time.
NATO troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Cameron said an unprecedented level of co-operation had been agreed between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The discussions had centred on both the Afghan-led peace process and on strengthening co-operation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he added.
The joint statement said all sides had agreed on the urgency of the Afghan peace process and "committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next six months". Karzai and Zardari also "re-affirmed their commitments" to signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), to encourage closer ties. The first two rounds of the trilateral talks were held in Kabul and New York last year.
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