Peace in Afghanistan impossible without Pakistan: Grossman

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US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman on Wednesday assured Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani that the US was not contemplating a reconciliation process in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s support.
In a meeting held at the Prime Minister’s House, Gilani told Grossman that it was extremely important for Pakistan to see a sovereign, stable and prosperous Afghanistan because it was in its own as well as of the region’s interest. Gilani said he was happy that his idea of the three Ds – dialogue, development and deterrence – was being realised by the international community as a way forward. He voiced apprehensions that Pakistan might once again suffer the negative fallout of the Afghanistan problem. Grossman responded that the US would not commit the mistake of abandoning Pakistan again.
Gilani said Pakistan was working to ensure Afghanistan’s connectivity in the region through the Afghan-Pakistan Trade Agreement (APTA) which should also extend to the central Asian republics. The prime minister reiterated Pakistan and Afghanistan’s joint resolve of rooting out terrorism as both countries had suffered severely. Gilani emphasised that the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan should be on the same page in terms of denying space to militants to capitalise on, adding that he was looking forward to positive outcomes of the forthcoming Istanbul and Bonn conferences.
The prime minister said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan would be an opportunity for exchange of views on multiple subjects, adding that positive signals both from Washington and Islamabad were important in denying space to the militants.Grossman agreed with the prime minister on the need for the repatriation of the 3.5 million Afghan refugees still in Pakistan.

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