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Cablegate: Progress On Pak-Afghan Jirga; Hints At

VZCZCXRO1752
OO RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #3012 2561429
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 121429Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8784
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 9117
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8674
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3763
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 0307
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 6049
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 4859
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHWSMRC/USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISLAMABAD 003012

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PK PREL PTER AF
SUBJECT: PROGRESS ON PAK-AFGHAN JIRGA; HINTS AT
BREAKTHROUGH ON SIR CREEK, SIACHEN

1. (U) Summary: On September 11, Pakistani and Afghan Foreign
Ministers agreed to a re-engagement plan between the two
countries and to convene a mini-jirga shortly after the Eid
holiday (early October). Relations between the two countries
had soured after the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul,
which Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed on Pakistani
involvement. Looking toward their eastern neighbor India,
President Asif Zardari, also speaking to the press September
11, pointed to Sir Creek and Siachen as areas that could be
resolved leading to a larger Kashmir deal. End summary.

With Afghanistan
- - - - - - - - -

2. (U) Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told
the press September 11 that he and Afghan Foreign Minister
Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta had developed a "re-engagement plan"
for their two countries to improve recently strained
relations. The two officials agreed to hold a mini-jirga as
a follow-up to the grand jirga that took place last year in
Kabul. Although the dates for the mini-jirga have yet to be
finalized, it has been announced that it would take place
after the Eid holiday (October 2 or 3). This plan is the
result of discussions between Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in August.

3. (U) The two Ministers also agreed to reconvene the
Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Economic Commission (dates yet to
be determined) and to hold the third Regional Economic
Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (to be held in November
in Islamabad) to focus on bilateral trade and economic
cooperation concerns. Additionally, Qureshi and Spanta
agreed to meet at the UN General Assembly later this month to
continue with the bilateral dialogue. The ministers reported
that their respective National Security Advisors would also
participate in robust bilateral dialogue to focus on security
concerns.

4. (U) Relations between the two countries began to sour
after the July bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which
Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed on the Pakistani
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. The Foreign
Ministers' re-engagement plan, as well as Karzai's attendance
of Zardari's September 9 swearing in, comes on the heels of
the recent support by Karzai for U.S. operations in Pakistan
and the denouncement of the same operations by Pakistan Chief
of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani.

With India
- - - - - -

5. (U) President Asif Zardari added September 11, speaking to
the press, that he was hopeful that two long pending disputes
with India -- Sir Creek and Siachen -- will be resolved very
soon. He claimed political leaders across the spectrum would
be brought on board on any breakthroughs, naming Pakistan
Muslim League-N's Nawaz Sharif, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F's
Fazlur Rehman, Awami National Party's Asfundyar Wali Khan,
and Muttahida Quami Movement's Altaf Hussain.

6. (U) Progress on Kashmir would come if these two other
issues could be resolved, Zardari said. "All the possible
solutions on Kashmir will be discussed first in the
parliamentary committee on Kashmir and then the final
solution will be approved by the parliament," he concluded.

PATTERSON

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