U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations
President Obama, President Karzai, President Zardari, and senior members of their governments met over the course of two days (May 6-7) to reaffirm their commitments to a peaceful and cooperative future for Afghanistan and Pakistan and to combat the spread of extremism and terrorism. The three countries resolved to strengthen their strategic partnership based on a shared commitment toward promoting enduring peace, security, stability and economic cooperation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also expressed a shared desire to deepen the strategic dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan and to continue a trilateral dialogue. The United States reaffirmed its strong commitment to the strategic partnerships at the bilateral level with both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The United States reiterated its strong support for stability and security of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to continue the cross-border Jirga process with the participation of governments and civil societies to consult and build consensus on matters of mutual interest.
Afghanistan and Pakistan plan to open two Border Coordination Centers in 2009 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, and another inside Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. On transit trade, both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding as a first, interim step towards finalizing a new transit trade treaty this year, to replace the 1965 agreement. The U.S. also announced an agreement with Pakistan and Afghanistan to launch a Regional Infrastructure and Trade Development initiative to accelerate needed infrastructure development which will foster economic growth in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and promote the regional trade that is so necessary to sustaining growth. The two governments agreed to cooperate on customs harmonization and labor issues to prepare for implementation of legislation currently pending before the U.S. Congress to create Reconstruction Opportunity Zones.
The United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan plan to increase cooperation on agricultural development and support research on food production, agriculture-related resources, and improvement of agricultural trade and markets. The countries have agreed to form working groups for the three major areas of food security, and trade corridors. Agriculture is of great importance to the future of the region, as it is the major source of income for the majority of people living in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The United States plans to join Afghanistan and Pakistan in accelerating a focused development effort that is expected to create one million short and long-term jobs in Afghanistan and Pakistan through efforts to improve trade, increase the productivity of agriculture, revitalize local and regional agricultural markets improve food security, and transform the agriculture sector. The United States is planning to spend $27.5 million under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food for Progress Program for Pakistan and Afghanistan to help improve the sustainable development of their agricultural sectors, which will help provide the foundation on which the economies of the two countries can prosper and thrive.
Afghanistan and Pakistan plan to pursue, with U.S. support, a Joint Action Plan outlining areas of common concern on issues of counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, law enforcement, border security and management, and rule of law and to look for ways to increase cooperation.
The three sides expect to continue to work closely and to build on the achievements of these consultations to realize the long-term goals of the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategic Partnership. The next U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations are planned for this fall.