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Afghanistan keen to join SAARC

August 28, 2005 16:43 IST

Asserting that improvement in Indo-Pak relations was a necessity for the region, Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said he hoped it would lead to opening up of transit routes for India to Afghanistan through Pakistan.

At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Karzai said he had raised the transit issue with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf who had responded positively.

"President Musharraf had discussed this issue in a very positive way," Karzai said, adding, "It was not a negative response. But I don't know how long it will take."

Karzai said, "Improvement in relations between India and Pakistan is a necessity for this whole region and overtakes every other consideration".

The Afghan President hoped that there would be further progress in Indo-Pak peace talks and "this wish and vision will become a reality".

On the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, he said, there has been co-operation from Islamabad in fighting the scourge.

"All of us India, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to join hands to fight this global menace."

Karzai said Afghanistan was keen on participating in SAARC "so as to contribute to it and benefit from it".

The Afghan leader said he had raised this issue with Singh during the talks and "was very glad to receive an affirmative and positive response" and added that he had got a similar "positive response" from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf earlier.

"So Afghanistan is keen on SAARC, and to be a contributor as also a receiver in that organisation," he said.

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