Pakistan says willing to assist Afghan talks

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Friday, 15 October 2010 07:35 GMT

BRUSSELS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Pakistan said on Friday it was willing to facilitate reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban as stability in Afghanistan was in Islamabad&${esc.hash}39;s interests.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said reconciliation had to be an Afghan-led initiative, but Pakistan was willing to assist the efforts by its neighbouring country.

"They have to own it, they have to lead it. We are there to help. We are there to facilitate. Because we want to see a stable peaceful Afghanistan. It&${esc.hash}39;s in Pakistan&${esc.hash}39;s interest to have stability and peace in Afghanistan."

A senior NATO official said on Wednesday the military alliance was already assisting Afghan President Hamid Karzai&${esc.hash}39;s approaches to senior Taliban leaders and on Thursday U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington would do "whatever it takes" to get the peace process on track. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Rex Merrifield)

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