ISLAMABAD (APP) - US President Barack Obama on Thursday called President Asif Ali Zardari and discussed bilateral relations, situation in the region as well as other matters of mutual interest. During the telephonic conversation, President Obama and President Zardari discussed the "Friends of Democratic Pakistan" forum initiative, aimed at promoting and strengthening democracy in Pakistan. The two leaders also discussed the matters relating to fight against militancy, with particular reference to peace in the region. It is pertinent to mention here that the new US administration under President Barack Obama is working on a new strategy to deal with terrorism and extremism, with focus on a stable, economically strong and democratic Pakistan. The pivotal role of Pakistan in the new US strategy for the region can be gauged from the fact that President Obama soon after taking over the US administration appointed Richard Holbrooke as special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Richard Holbrooke in his recent visit to Pakistan had meetings with Pakistani leaders including the President, the Prime Minister as well as the leaders of various political parties. President Zardari, who launched the initiative of 'Friends of Democratic Pakistan' (FODP) in New York in September 2008, will chair the Friends' Ministerial meeting being held in Tokyo on April 17. Currently, the forum consists of 25 countries and multilateral institutions including US, UK, China, EU, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Republic of Korea, Spain, the Netherlands, Nordic countries, UN, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank. A Donors Conference is also being held in Tokyo on April 17, which will be co-hosted by Japan and the World Bank.