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AFPAK security top British priority

Published By United Press International
LONDON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Supporting the security of Pakistan and Afghanistan is a top foreign policy concern of the British government, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Hague met with Afghan and Pakistani counterparts regarding regional peace and stability. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the meeting's agenda focused on joint efforts to combat extremism in the region.

"Supporting the security and prosperity of Afghanistan and Pakistan is one of the most important priorities in U.K. foreign policy," Hague said in a statement.

NATO defense ministers this week in Brussels expressed their commitment to the long-term security interests of Afghanistan. NATO allies in May agreed to pull their forces out of Afghanistan by 2014 as Afghan forces gain strength.

Last month, the U.S. and Afghan governments started negotiations on a bilateral security agreement.

The governments said the "guiding principles" of bilateral negotiations would focus on Afghan interests while advancing a shared interest in eliminating transnational terrorist threats.

Military training may extend beyond the 2014 deadline. NATO had said it was concerned any planned cuts on member's defense budgets may curtail commitments in Afghanistan.
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Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa