On 3 to 4 February the Prime Minister hosted a Summit at Chequers, attended by President Karzai of Afghanistan and President Zardari of Pakistan. They were joined by Foreign Ministers, Chiefs of Defence Staff, Chiefs of Intelligence, the Afghan National Security Adviser and the Chair of the Afghan High Peace Council. This was the 3rd in a series of trilateral meetings hosted by the Prime Minister in the last year to discuss the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and how to strengthen joint efforts to address extremism and advance regional peace and stability.
The 3 leaders noted significant progress since they last met in September 2012 and stressed the importance of maintaining the pace and momentum. The Afghan and Pakistani delegations agreed that the quality of dialogue and co-operation had significantly improved. They committed themselves to continue to make strenuous efforts in the spirit of mutual interest. Both sides agreed that good neighbourly relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, that ensured the long term stability of both countries, was of fundamental importance.
The 3 leaders discussed progress on the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. President Karzai and his delegation briefed on the Afghan vision and roadmap for peace and reconciliation. President Zardari reiterated that Pakistan would extend full support to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. All sides agreed on the urgency of this work and committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next 6 months. Both affirmed the importance of regional and international support. President Karzai, President Zardari and the Prime Minister affirmed that they supported the opening of an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the Taliban and the High Peace Council of Afghanistan as part of an Afghan led peace process. The end result should be one in which all Afghans can participate peacefully in the country’s political future. They called on the Taliban to take those steps necessary to open an office and to enter into dialogue.
President Karzai and President Zardari looked forward to a joint conference of Afghan and Pakistani Ulema in early March.
President Karzai and President Zardari agreed arrangements to strengthen co-ordination of Taliban detainee releases from Pakistani custody in support of the peace and reconciliation process.
President Karzai and President Zardari re-affirmed their commitments of 26 September 2012 on a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). In addition to the peace process, discussions covered the range of bilateral issues, including the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, economic co-operation, security co-operation, people-to-people links, refugee returns and border management. Both sides stressed that progress on the SPA and peace process would mutually reinforce close co-operation between the two countries. The 2 sides agreed that negotiations would commence with meetings of Foreign, Interior and Commerce Ministers during February to take forward trade and border management issues. The 2 sides also agreed to take early steps to resolve the question of refugee returns. The Prime Minister committed the UK to support these efforts.
In this context, the 2 sides agreed that they wanted to build greater trust and co-operation between their military and security services and agreed concrete steps to deliver this. The Afghan and Pakistani Chiefs of Defence Staff and Intelligence enjoyed fruitful discussions and agreed on new mechanisms for strengthening co-operation.