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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement, being midwifed by the West, is expected to be signed next year despite the lingering mistrust between the two countries.
British High Commissioner Adam Thomson said the United Kingdom was happy to see Pakistan and Afghanistan moving towards a strategic partnership agreement (SPA) before the end of next year.
“We see it as a positive step forward,” the high commissioner said.
He did not share the reason for his optimism despite the apparent downturn in Islamabad-Kabul relationship. The Pakistan-Afghan strategic accord was proposed by President Hamid Karzai at a trilateral summit, also attended by the US, in New York last month.
But shortly afterwards the Afghan president started setting conditions for letting the agreement take shape, making it clear that he had not made the offer of his free will.
“If these conditions are met - terrorism is stopped, extremism is dismantled, anti-Afghan activities are stopped, destruction of Afghanistan is stopped, friendship starts between the two countries which hasn’t happened so far - then a strategic pact would be signed between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Karzai had said soon after returning to Kabul from New York.
Thomson clearly hinted the UK was nudging both countries to agree to the SPA and said “we may contribute” through diplomacy. A Pakistani official confirmed that some countries were helping.
Increased political contacts between the two countries, described by Karzai on more than one occasions as conjoined twins, had led everyone into believing that they had turned page in their relations after years of acrimony. But some of the incidents over the past 12 months reversed the progress and re-ignited the blame game. internews