Sunday, August 28, 2016

President Karzai Visits China

President Karzai arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a three-day state visit, accompanied by a delegation of ministers and businessmen. Scheduled meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and top legislator Wu Bangguo focused on mutual economic interests. Three agreements were signed on Wednesday concerning economic cooperation, training programs and the granting of preferential tariffs for some Afghan exports to China.

The Presidents signed agreements on trade and economic cooperation aimed at boosting commerce and investment between the two neighbors. Trade between Afghanistan and China amounted to US$155 million in 2008 (according to Chinese figures).

Mr Karzai said that China played a “very important role in the stability of Afghanistan and the region.” Since 2002, when President Karzai made his first trip to China as head of the transitional government, China has provided $175 million in aid to Afghanistan. More recently, Beijing granted another $75 million.

Chinese President Hu Jintao congratulated Mr Karzai on his reelection during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.  Both Presidents also condemned terrorism and Mr Hu said both countries should “actively strike at terrorism, separatism and religious extremism and organized cross-border crimes in an effort to maintain regional peace and stability.”

President Karzai will also deliver a speech at Peking University.

Afghan and US Leaders Urge for Continued Strategic Partnership

Arg. Kabul: President Hamid Karzai spoke with President Obama for over an hour on Monday evening via video teleconference on a wide range of issues of bilateral importance.

President Karzai underscored the importance of the need to provide help and assistance to the families of the war victims and those who suffered in the suicide bombings and asked for the US assistance, which President Obama agreed in principle and emphasized that those who suffered as result of war need to be assisted.

Both the leaders discussed potentials for enhancing cooperation and reaffirmed mutual resolve for continued strategic partnership.

The other topic of discussion was the strengthening of governance both in national and sub-national level for which both sides agreed on further cooperation.

On regional issues, President Karzai echoed the concern of the Afghan people who don’t want to see their country turn into a battle filed for proxy wars between other countries, on which both the leaders agreed.

President Obama reaffirmed the US long term commitment for a prosperous and stable Afghanistan.

During the video call, President Karzai briefed the US President on Afghanistan’s efforts for acceleration of the peace and reconciliation process, which President Obama welcomed and declared support. Both President Karzai and President Obama urged that Afghan government and its international partners should follow a unified single approach for the process to succeed.

Both sides agreed on steps and measures for the follow-up on the commitments made in the London Conference in different areas including security, governance, peace and reconciliation, corruption, transparent elections and regional cooperation.

President Karzai and PM Gilani Urge Greater Cooperation for Regional Stability

President Hamid Karzai during his visit to Pakistan said none of the two neighbors can be stable without peace in the other.

President Karzai made the remarks at a joint press conference following talks with Pakistan PM, Yousuf Reza Gilani. The President said, “We in Afghanistan are fully aware and recognize that without Pakistan and without its cooperation with Afghanistan, Afghanistan cannot be stable or peaceful, it is also, I believe, recognized in Pakistan that without a stable and peaceful Afghanistan there cannot be stability or peace in Pakistan,” he said.

Prime Minister Gilani in reply to the need for enhanced cooperation between the two countries said Pakistan will extend all possible help for political stability in Afghanistan.

President Karzai further added that each time he visits Pakistan, the environment for partnership and relations with Pakistan grows friendlier and warmer. The President said he conveyed a message with him that the people of Afghanistan share the grief and sorrow that their Pakistani brothers and sisters have been going though especially in the past two years.

The President urged that increased bilateral cooperation was now more needed than ever before to relieve the suffering and pain.

President Karzai said Afghanistan was prepared to extend all possible help for a regional stability and said his country would not allow its soil to be used against any country and Pakistan. “Afghanistan does not want any proxy wars on its territory. It does not want a proxy war between India and Pakistan on Afghanistan. It does not want a proxy war between Iran and the United States on Afghanistan. It does not want any country… to engage in any activity against another country in Afghanistan,” he added.

In response to a question about India role in Afghanistan, President Karzai said India has an important role in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. It is a historic friend of Afghanistan, and Pakistan too is a brother and as a twin that can’t be separated.

Replying to another question, President Karzai said Afghanistan has nothing to do with drone attacks in Pakistan and called the issue a matter between Pakistan and United States.

Prime Minister Gilani said “In the pursuit of peace and development, for national reconciliation and reintegration, Pakistan places its full weight behind the agenda and the vision outlined by the Afghan people and their elected leadership.”

He said that bilateral trade volume with Afghanistan will be increased and vowed to boost relations with the neighboring country and pledged that we would continue to assist the people of Afghanistan in every manner possible.