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Obama to meet Karzai in Chicago

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Obama to meet Karzai in Chicago
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Washington: US President Barack Obama will meet his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai during a NATO summit in Chicago Sunday, a White House official said.

‘Obviously it is an important meeting because a central focus of the NATO summit will be on Afghanistan,’ said Obama's National Security Advisor Tom Donilon at a White House briefing Thursday, referring to the meeting between the two.

Obama met with Karzai earlier this month during his surprise visit to Afghanistan, where they signed the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement.

Donilon also confirmed that so far there is no plan for a bilateral meeting between Obama and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari even though the latter was also invited to attend the summit, Xinhua reported.

It is still unclear whether the US and Pakistan can sign an agreement for the reopening of a key NATO supply route before the NATO summit kicks off Sunday.

The supply line was cut off by the Pakistani government following a deadly NATO airstrike on two Pakistani border checkpoints in November last year, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The decade-old war in Afghanistan will dominate the NATO summit in Chicago slated for May 20-21. The summit is expected to iron out details of an exit strategy from the war-torn country, under which Afghan forces are expected to take the security lead by the end of 2014 after most American and NATO combat troops leave.

IANS

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