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Af-Pak leaders commit to peace deal in six months: statement

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari vowed Monday to achieve a peace settlement for Afghanistan within six months, after talks hosted by Britain.

Following the talks at British Prime Minister David Cameron's Chequers country retreat near London, the three leaders also said they supported the opening of an office in Qatar for the Taliban to hold talks.

"All sides agreed on the urgency of this work and committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next six months," they said in a joint statement issued by Cameron's office.

The three leaders also called on the Taliban "to take those steps necessary to open an office and to enter into dialogue".

"President Karzai, president Zardari and the prime minister affirmed that they supported the opening of an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the Taliban and the High Peace Council of Afghanistan as part of an Afghan-led peace process," the statement said.

The talks in Britain were aimed at boosting cooperation in cementing an Afghan peace and reconcilation process amid growing fears that civil war could erupt when international troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130204/af-pak-leaders-commit-to-peace-deal-in-six-months-statement