Pakistani, Afghan Presidents Deplore Violence

Posted September 25th, 2012 at 9:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan have deplored the loss of life in their countries as a result of terrorist attacks and international military intervention.

Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that safety and security has been his administration's primary concern, as tens of thousands of people have been killed by terrorism in his country in recent years, including soldiers, civilians and his own wife Benazir Bhutto.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said people in his country have suffered for decades because of terrorist groups that have made Afghanistan their haven. But he said military intervention alone cannot eradicate the problem, and he urged international leaders to take the anti-terror campaign to the sources of terrorism.

Both presidents condemned violence committed in the name of Islam, but they also urged the international community to discourage abuse of freedom of speech and expression.

The two leaders said they are cooperating in efforts to establish peace and security in their countries and the wider region. Mr. Karzai urged the United Nations to support his government's campaign to engage in dialogue with former members of armed groups such as the Taliban, on condition that they end violence, cut ties with terrorists and respect the Afghan constitution.

Mr. Zardari also stressed the importance of respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Last year, Islamabad protested after learning that former al-Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden was killed in a covert U.S. operation in Pakistan.

Both presidents called for reform of the U.N. Security Council that would make it a more equitable and democratic institution. They also urged the international community to help end the plight of the Palestinian people. They called for recognition of a Palestinian state and its membership in the United Nations.