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U.S. understands Musharraf's reason for skipping Pak-Afghan jirga
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07:50, August 09, 2007

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The United States said on Wednesday that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had good reason for skipping a planned meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Pakistani officials had discussed Musharraf's reason for skipping the meeting with U.S. and Afghan officials, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

"President Musharraf certainly wouldn't stay back in Islamabad if he didn't believe he had good and compelling reasons to stay back," McCormack said. "Certainly we would understand that."

But the spokesman declined to give any details about Pakistan's explanation.

Pakistan and Afghanistan decided to hold grand joint jirga, or council meeting of tribal elders, on Aug. 9-11.

Musharraf called Karzai Wednesday, saying that because of his engagements in Islamabad he could not personally attend the peace Jirga, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will lead the Pakistani delegation to attend the meeting.

Afghanistan's foreign ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen said that Musharraf's absence will not effect the jirga, and that the Afghani government welcomes the participation of Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Source: Xinhua

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