It was Cordial Meeting with Karzai: Pakistan

Islamabad, Nov 13 (IANS): Pakistan Saturday said that the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in the Maldives, was held in a cordial atmosphere and provided a good opportunity for a frank and in-depth exchange of views.

Gilani recounted Pakistan's consistent efforts to have the best of relations with Afghanistan and several initiatives having been taken in this regard, Xinhua reported, quoting a foreign ministry spokesperson.

On matters relating to reconciliation and peace, Gilani said that it was for Afghanistan to specify and lead the process.

"Professor Rabbani's tragic assassination constituted a setback to the process. Professor Rabbani was highly respected and a good friend of Pakistan," the spokesperson said.

President Karzai affirmed the importance that Afghanistan attached to its relations with Pakistan, said the spokesperson. "Both sides agreed that the decisions reached at the recent Istanbul Trilateral Summit should be implemented."

Stating Pakistan had always demonstrated goodwill towards Afghanistan and believed that reinvigoration of a cooperative approach was important, the spokesperson said: "The Maldives bilateral meeting was a step in that direction."

According to a Pakistani daily, the Dawn, the Afghan president called for Pakistan's "meaningful cooperation" in investigating the assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack Sep 20.

During the meeting, Karzai "bombarded us with a number of demands laced with accusations," the report quoted the unnamed Pakistani minister as saying.

"The meeting took place in a highly tense atmosphere as the Afghan president was not in a mood to listen to anyone. Frankly speaking, Prime Minister Gilani was taken aback because he had expected a friendly gesture from the Afghan president," the minister told the Pakisani daily.


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