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Kabul urges Islamabad to enforce transit trade agreement

05 February, 2013

KABUL: Hoping that Pakistan will remove hurdles in implementation of transit trade agreement between the two countries, Afghanistan on Sunday said they wanted close relations with Pakistan so that trade and economic relations could be promoted between the two neighbouring countries.

Janan Musazai, spokesman for Afghan foreign ministry, told weekly press conference that Afghanistan wanted full implementation of Pak-Afghan transit trade agreement.

Replying to a question that Afghan traders were daily suffering tens of thousands of dollars damage and what steps have been taken by the Afghan government in this regard, he said Afghanistan wanted close relations with Pakistan for the promotion of trade and economic relations which, he said, was in the interest of the people of the two countries. "We hope that Pakistan will remove hurdles in implementation of the agreement," he said, adding there were no barriers from Afghanistan's side. He continued that Afghanistan wanted to extend the Pak-Afghan transit trade agreement to India and central Asian states. Termed relation with Pakistan as very important, he said they wanted these relations must be strategic.

The trade volume between the two countries has increased in the past 10 years and reached to $2.5 billion, compared to $100 million in 2001, he said.

The foreign ministry spokesman disclosed that Pakistan wanted inclusion of another country in the agreement but Afghanistan was opposed to the inclusion of a third country.

About several other political issues, he said foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Qatar held a bilateral meeting and discussed promotion of relations.

About the proposed Kabul Ulema conference, he said the High Peace Council was fully prepared for Pak-Afghan Ulema conference, adding a delegation of Afghan ulema recently visited Pakistan in this regard.

He, however, could not give satisfactory reply that why they failed to hold the conference.

To a question about informal negotiations between Taliban and United Sates in Qatar and that a delegation of Qatari government was expected to visit Afghanistan soon, the foreign ministry spokesman said no formal Taliban office has so far been set up in Qatar, adding there must be an understanding between Afghanistan and Qatar.

Establishment of Taliban office was linked with Taliban announcement of joining political talks and holding direct negotiations with Afghan government, he disclosed. He said talks will be held with only Taliban's trusted and reliable representatives and no individual, group or government will have the authority to directly hold peace negotiations.

End.

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