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Obama discusses 'regional problems' with Zardari

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
February 12, 2009 00:41 IST
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United States President Barack Obama and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday agreed to start an active engagement to resolve problems facing the region through a 'holistic strategy'.

The decision was made when Obama spoke with Zardari on phone.

This was Obama's first interaction with Zardari after taking over as President. Both leaders "agreed to start an active engagement for the resolution of problems facing our region through a holistic strategy", said a statement issued by Pakistan's Foreign Office.

The visit of US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke was discussed by both leaders, who "underscored a need for a joint strategy to bring peace and security to the region", said the statement. They also exchanged views on bilateral relations, the situation in the region and other issues of mutual interest.

Holbrooke arrived in Islamabad on Monday, with a message from the Obama administration for the Pakistan government, to root out Taliban and Al Qaeda bases in the restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

During the conversation, Zardari congratulated Obama on assuming office and expressed the hope that "there would be a beneficial change for the world, particularly for the region and Pakistan-US relations".

Obama reiterated his "continued support for democracy and socio-economic and human development in Pakistan", the statement said.  

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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