ISLAMAABD: Following their one-on-one meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held a joint news conference in which both leaders stressed the importance of improving relations.
Prime Minister Sharif said that during the meeting he stressed the importance Pakistan attaches to a peaceful Afghanistan. He wished the Afghan people well in their security and political transition. “2014 is critical for Afghanistan and the region. It is our desire that this milestone passes peacefully.”
Mr. Sharif said the Pakistani government was committed to bilateral relations with Afghanistan and the two countries had decided to work closely in the sectors or energy and communication.
The Prime Minister also announced that the two sides, in the meeting of their finance ministers, had agreed on several projects on communications, power and railway. These included early completion of Torkham-Jalalabad additional carriageway and initiation of other highway projects, besides early implementation of CASA 1000 and development of a joint hydel power project on Kunar River.
Prime Minister Sharif said, “constructive engagement between Afghanistan and Pakistan was good for both the countries, good for the region and good for the world.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he discussed issues of mutual concern with the Pakistani prime minister. Mr. Karzai said the primary concern for Pakistan and Afghanistan was the lack of security and terrorism in both countries.
“With security and the fight against terrorism as the top agenda, both countries can move forward towards peace and stability.”
President Karzai said Afghanistan expected Pakistan to provide opportunities or a platform for talks between the Afghan High Peace Council -- Kabul's official negotiators -- and the Taliban.
"We hope with this on top of our agenda we can move forward in bringing stability and peace to both countries," he told reporters.
The Afghan president added that trade was also discussed in detail.
Earlier, the two leaders held a one-on-one meeting and discussed ways to carry forward the process of constructive engagement between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Prime Minister Sharif and President Karzai exchanged views on their countries’ relationship based on faith, kinship culture and history.
This is Karzai’s first visit to Islamabad on the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif since the swearing-in of new government in Pakistan.
His visit comes at a time when Afghanistan is undergoing important political and security transition as withdrawal of NATO/ISAF forces is due to be completed by December 2014.