01 September, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 5, 1435

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) at Chequers, the British PM's official country residence in Buckinghamshire, west of London, on February 4, 2013.—AFP Photo

LONDON: Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai vowed Monday to achieve a peace settlement for Afghanistan within six months, after talks hosted by Britain.

The three leaders also said they supported the opening of an office in Qatar for the Afghan Taliban to hold talks.

“All sides agreed on the urgency of this work and committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next six months,” they said in a joint statement issued by Cameron’s office.

The three leaders also called on the Taliban “to take those steps necessary to open an office and to enter into dialogue”.

“President Karzai, president Zardari and the prime minister affirmed that they supported the opening of an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the Taliban and the High Peace Council of Afghanistan as part of an Afghan-led peace process,” the statement said.

“All sides... committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next six months,” said the statement released by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office.

The British PM is hosting the Afghan and Pakistani leaders at a summit at his Chequers country retreat near London.

The talks are aimed at boosting cooperation in cementing an Afghan peace and reconciliation process amid growing fears that civil war could erupt when international troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.


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