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Cablegate: Spanta's April 22-23 Counterparts Trip to Islamabad

VZCZCXRO6041
PP RUEHBW RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1114 1270730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060730Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3802
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS KABUL 001114

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, PRM
PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-101, POLAD, JICCENT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PTER PK AF
SUBJECT: SPANTA'S APRIL 22-23 COUNTERPARTS TRIP TO ISLAMABAD

Ref: Kabul 1064

1. (SBU) Summary. The MFA's Pakistan desk said Foreign Minister
Spanta made his April 22-23 trip to Islamabad to "open a new chapter
in relations with the GoP." Spanta invited his Pakistani
counterpart, Foreign Minister Qureshi, to Kabul. Spanta pressed
Qureshi to name representatives to a Peace Jirga follow-up meeting
and reminded him of a late-2007 bilateral agreement to enhance
intelligence-sharing.

2. (SBU) According to the MFA, Spanta's visit was intended as a
signal to Pakistan that Afghans had put their anger over past
Inter-services Intelligence Directorate meddling behind them.
Afghans are eager to open a new chapter in their relations with
Pakistan. The MFA reported Spanta urged the Pakistanis to view the
two countries "like twins." If one is harmed, Spanta said, the
other would be harmed, too. Both countries confront a common enemy
in terrorism, he argued; they must respond in a joint, coordinated
manner. Spanta reminded the Pakistanis of their unrealized
agreement of late last year to share intelligence with Kabul.
Qureshi emphasized the use of economic and social means, in addition
to military action, to defeat terrorism.
3. (SBU) Spanta pressed Qureshi into a promise that Pakistan will
soon identify its 25 delegates to a Peace Jirga follow-up meeting.
Qureshi endorsed the Canadian-led G-8 project to promote IRoA-GoP
bureaucratic communications and cooperation.

4. (SBU) The MFA rather excitedly confirmed press reports that
Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India had agreed in
principle to build the TAPI pipeline, which is to convey Turkmen gas
to the other three countries. The Pakistanis' registered with
Spanta their concern that Turkmenistan's existing delivery
commitments to Russia could so restrict the availability of gas that
the pipeline would not be commercially justifiable. (Comment: We
are unsure of the significance of "agreed in principle;" our
working-level contacts are not aware of any new movement for the
reason the Pakistanis cite and because of the security challenge of
protecting a natural gas pipeline during an insurgency. A recent
internal Afghan ministerial-level tour d'horizon of the country's
energy situation extensively discussed Uzbekistan and Tajikistan's
exports to Afghanistan, but ignored Turkmenistan as a possible
provider of natural gas.)

5. (SBU) Qureshi pressed Spanta to accelerate refugee returns,
according to the MFA. Spanta apologized for Afghanistan's
insufficient refugee resettlement resources. Qureshi surprised
Spanta by offering to join the Afghans in a Paris Conference request
for earmarked international funding to develop the latter's capacity
to absorb refugees. Spanta agreed.

6. (SBU) In addition to Qureshi, Spanta met with Musharraf, lower
house Speaker Fahmida Mirza, Pakistan Peoples Party regent Ali
Zardari and Awami National Party chief Asfandya Wali Khan.

WOOD

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