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Russia, US discuss Af-Pak issue

world Updated: May 08, 2009 15:44 IST
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Describing the trilateral summit of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US as a "very important step", Russia has said any "success or failure" in combating terrorism in the Pak-Afghan region will have "repercussions" for strengthening security.

A day after discussing the volatile situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, US President Barack Obama had intensive consultation with the visiting Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, on the Af-Pak situation on Thursday.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also met Lavrov and had exchange of views on bilateral ties and AfPak issue.

Briefing reporters after their meetings with Lavrov, both Obama and Clinton made specific mention of Afghanistan and Pakistan as among important issues discussed with the Russian Foreign Minister.

Welcoming the trilateral summit, Lavrov told reporters "we have discussed the outcomes of the exchanges that took place in Washington with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and we believe it is a very important step in our joint efforts."

Observing that Afghanistan is one of the top foreign policy priorities for the Obama Administration, he said "we realise the importance of this line of work in American foreign policy, since success or failure on this track will have repercussions for strengthening security in this key region of the world."

Promising full support to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Lavrov said: "It will actively support the growing interest with a regional factor in the settlement process, which is demonstrated now by the Obama Administration."

In his brief remarks after meeting Lavrov at the White House, Obama said: "I think we have an excellent opportunity to reset the relationship between the United States and Russia on a whole host of issues from nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation, the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, how we approach Iran, how we approach the Middle East and commercial ties between the two countries".

Obama is scheduled to visit Moscow in July. Among other issues discussed with Lavrov, Clinton said were about replacement for the START treaty in order to meet their shared commitment to the responsible management of the nuclear arsenals.

"We exchanged views on a range of important issues, from Afghanistan, North Korea, the Middle East, Iran, so many other areas where we have common interests and common concerns, even on areas where our views may diverge," Clinton said.

"We both want to achieve stability and security in Georgia. We are both committed to the NATO-Russia Council to open up another important channel of dialogue. And we are very focused on making sure that the United States and Russia has a very vigorous ongoing dialogue among our two governments," she said.