12 July 2006
By Our Correspondent
WASHINGTON, July 11: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
underscored the importance of establishing an economic link between
Central Asia and India through Pakistan and Afghanistan when she met
Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the State Department said.
Briefing journalists on Monday's meeting between Mr Kasuri and Ms
Rice, the department's spokesman said both the countries "have an
interest in building up those economic ties from Central Asia down
through Afghanistan and Pakistan into India" and Ms Rice and Mr Kasuri
"talked about the importance of developing that economic
Spokesman Sean McCormack said both Pakistan and Afghanistan also
understand that for "realizing the full potential of this economic
integration," they must continue their common fight against terrorism.
The spokesman indicated that the Rice-Kasuri meeting primarily
focused on growing tension between Kabul and Islamabad which is
affecting the global war on terrorism.
Secretary Rice briefed Mr Kasuri on her recent meeting with Afghan
President Hamid Karzai and told him that both Afghanistan and Pakistan
have a shared interest in the stability and security and also in
economic prosperity of each other, Mr McCormack said.
He said the US was working with Pakistan and Afghanistan to address
their security concerns "on trilateral basis," endorsing the Pakistani
position that all issues concerning the war on terror should be
discussed in a trilateral forum.
Asked if Ms Rice agrees that Afghanistan and Pakistan should not
discuss their differences publicly, Mr McCormack said: "Certainly, we
would encourage them, if they have any differences, to work them out
and try to resolve them before they become a matter of public
He, however, acknowledged that Mr Kasuri and Afghan Foreign Minister
Rangin Dadfar Spanta were "ministers in their own right and they are
going to speak their mind in public".