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Miliband lauds Pakistani partnership

Jan. 12, 2010 at 4:10 PM

LONDON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Pakistan is a vital partner in the international effort to bring stability and security to Afghanistan, said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Miliband returned to London following a weekend visit to Islamabad to speak with Pakistani officials ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan scheduled for Jan. 28.

Miliband during his meetings with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Islamabad has a key role to play in the international effort in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan is a vital partner in finding solutions and progress in Afghanistan," he said. "Security, stability and prosperity depend in some part on security and prosperity and stability in Pakistan."

His comments echo sentiments from Washington war planners who link success of the Afghan strategy to stability in neighboring Pakistan.

Islamabad, however, has expressed concern that the influx of foreign troops into Afghanistan could push militants across the border, where Pakistani forces are battling Taliban extremists.

Qureshi, according to the British Foreign Office, said the London conference on Afghanistan was an important event for regional affairs.

"Stability and peace in Afghanistan is vital to Pakistan," he said. "The London conference on Afghanistan is an important multilateral event."

Miliband said last week that Kabul may host an international conference later in 2010.

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