Pakistan and Afghanistan on Sunday signed a landmark trade agreement that has been heavily promoted by the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is in Pakistan for a two-day visit, looked on as the Pakistani and Afghan commerce ministers sealed the deal in Islamabad.
The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, called the agreement “a vivid demonstration of the two countries coming together” – which, he said, has been a goal of the Obama administration “from the beginning.”
The pact, which has been under negotiation for years, will facilitate the ground shipment of goods between the two neighbors.
On Monday, Secretary Clinton is due to meet with top Pakistani military and civilian leaders and is expected to announce new development programs for Pakistan that will focus on water, energy and public health projects worth $500 million.
The programs are part of a $7.5 billion package approved by the U.S. Congress last year that triples non-military aid to Pakistan over a five-year period. The programs are designed to help combat anti-American sentiment that runs deep in Pakistan.
(READ more at VOA News)