Russia to host Afghan, Pak leaders this week: Kremlin

The Pak leader has cut cut back his Russia visit from two days to few hours.

Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will host a quadrilateral summit with leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan on Wednesday to discuss the situation in the volatile Af-Pak region.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon will hold their bilateral and quadrilateral talks with President Medvedev at his Black Sea resort retreat in Sochi.

Though no other details were given on the agenda of the four leaders, a Kremlin official said the summit will not set any "super tasks", nor it will end with the signing of any joint agreements.

"This would be a traditional meeting in line with our efforts to resolve regional conflicts," Medvedev`s foreign policy aide Prikhodko had told reporters here last month.

Earlier, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had held bilateral and trilateral meetings with Zardari and Karzai on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summits in Yekaterinburg in 2009 and in June in Tashkent.

Involvement of Tajikistan in the Af-Pak dialogue, which is basically limited to interests of Pashtuns, adds a new dimension for a wider dialogue as Dushanbe has close historical linkages with the ethnic Tajik population in the north Afghanistan.

"We do not expect any breakthrough, because the most important thing for Pakistan and Afghanistan is to maintain contacts and dialogue," Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said, adding that such contacts were necessary to ensure stability in the region.

There are currently over 140,000 US and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan aiming to defeat Taliban militants, who went on the offensive after being thrown out of power in Kabul in the US-led invasion in 2001.


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