BEIJING, June 6: President Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai here on Wednesday and reaffirmed Pakistan’s complete support for peace, stability and socio-economic development of Afghanistan.
The president is in Beijing to attend the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.
His spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said President Zardari recalled his meeting with the Afghan President in Chicago last month and said he looked forward to his visit to Pakistan later this year.
The President stressed the importance of close interaction between leaders of the two countries to deal with common challenges.
Pakistan has been participating in the Istanbul process meetings and will also attend the Kabul ministerial conference on June 14.
Pakistan also looks forward to the visit of the new Chairman of High Peace Council, Mr Salahuddin Rabbani.
He said Pakistan firmly believed that permanent peace and stability in Afghanistan could be achieved only through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process and an all-inclusive dialogue process.
The President said that Pakistan sincerely wanted to help its Afghan brothers in their efforts for socio-economic development and progress.
He said keeping in view the importance of education for children, the containers carrying books for Afghan children, were being released.
He said Pakistan was in favour of strong Afghan National Security Forces and had offered $20 million for the purpose.
Pakistan is also prepared to consider any other requirement for the purpose of strengthening and capacity building of Afghan security forces.
President Karzai thanked President Zardari for the support Pakistan had been extending for peace, stability and development of Afghanistan.
He said Afghanistan was keen to strengthen its brotherly relations with Pakistan because destinies of the people of the two countries were inter-linked.
Also on Wednesday, President Zardari and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon held a meeting and agreed to work together to strengthen connectivity through road, air and rail links in the region for promoting mutual trade and economic activities.
According to Farhatullah Babar, President Zardari said the formal trade between the two countries which amounted to a mere $15 million in 2011 was much below their potential and stressed the need for liberalisation of trade through appropriate mechanism and in this context proposed facilitating visa procedure for the business community.
He said that Pakistani ports offered great opportunities to Tajikistan and Central Asia by providing easy access to the sea and suggested that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan should sign a trilateral transit agreement.—APP