United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan Agree To Regular Meetings
After a meeting today with the Afghan and Pakistani foreign ministers, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that this week’s trilateral talks between the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan are going to be a new fixture of the Obama administration:
I therefore am very pleased to announce that we will continue this new trilateral format on a regular basis. Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for late April or early May.
I thank my friends and colleagues. Both ministers have been extraordinary, eloquent, making very important statements. The representatives from both the civilian and military sectors of both governments have been not only forthcoming, but very receptive, listening one to the other. And I thank you for these talented delegations and for your participation and support.
Our three nations have a common goal, a common threat, and a common task. And my government commits itself to our friends and to the success of this common endeavor.
This is valuable for several reasons, not least of which is the creation of a mechanism where Afghanistan and Pakistan can talk to each other on neutral ground to defuse some of the recurrent tensions between the two countries. Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta today spoke of a “very new development” in Afghanistan’s relationship with its eastern neighbor is a degree of “trust and confidence with the new civilian government of Pakistan.” It also helps ensure that the days when the United States had an Afghanistan policy and a separate Pakistan policy are over.