Harper sees Afghan common ground with Liberals

Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:58pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservative government and the Liberal Party now have essentially the same position on keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan until 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday.

Canada's military mission in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar is currently due to end in February 2009.

Harper has made his government's policy on keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan for a longer period a matter of confidence, and a vote against the government's position would trigger an election. But Harper said Liberal proposals on Afghanistan released on Tuesday were moving closer to the government's.

"The government's objective is to seek common ground here so we will look at these in great detail, with the express intention of trying to find common ground. But I think this is a positive development and one that I think is moving the debate in the right direction," he told reporters.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer and Louise Egan; Editing by Peter Galloway)