FM: Pak will continue to play role for Afghan peace
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while highlighting Pakistan’s positive contribution to the US-Taliban direct talks leading to the peace agreement, Wednesday stressed that the Afghan leaders should seize the historic opportunity and work together to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement.
The minister, in a meeting with visiting US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, reiterated that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was important for peace and stability in the region and beyond.
Ambassador Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan is part of his regular engagement for consultations and exchange of views on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
The foreign minister welcomed the latest developments, including announcements on formation of a negotiating team and establishment of High Council of National Reconciliation. He expressed the hope that release of prisoners would be completed soon to pave the way for the earliest commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations.
He urged that all sides should make earnest efforts for reduction in violence and also emphasized that it was important to not let the spoilers undermine or derail the process of intra-Afghan negotiations.
Noting the 40 years of hospitality extended by Pakistan to the Afghan refugees, the foreign minister underlined the role of the international community for a time-bound and well-resourced roadmap for the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honour.
Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to continue working with regional and international partners to support efforts for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
He added that Pakistan remained ready to engage in endeavours to facilitate closer economic partnership with Afghanistan and regional connectivity projects.
Qureshi conveyed Pakistan’s disappointment that the recently released US State Department’s Country Report on Terrorism 2019 was not factual as it failed to recognize Pakistan’s serious efforts and achievements in the fight against the scourge of terrorism. It was underlined that the spirit and trajectory of Pakistan-US relations warranted a positive approach — with better understanding and recognition of Pakistan’s concrete contribution to counter-terrorism.
Khalilzad expressed condolences on the loss of lives in the terrorist attack on PSX in Karachi and extended the US support.