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Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.— File Photo
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The government welcomed on Friday the prospects of talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban and expressed the hope that the initiative would lead to peace and stability in the region.

“The Nawaz Sharif government firmly believes that dialogue and reconciliation are the only way forward in bringing permanent peace to the region,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said during a meeting with US Ambassador Richard Olson at the interior ministry.

The meeting discussed issues of mutual interest and the coming Doha talks between the Taliban and the US.

The US ambassador felicitated Chaudhry Nisar on his appointment as interior minister as well as the peaceful transition of power from one civilian government to another.

“It is a matter of satisfaction that Pakistan is able to play a role in this process (Taliban-US breakthrough),” a spokesman for the interior ministry quoted Chaudhry Nisar as having said.

Mr Olson thanked Pakistan for its positive role in the forthcoming talks and assured that all stakeholders would be taken into confidence before reaching any conclusion.

Chaudhry Nisar called for stability of the region after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in 2014 and handing over of security to Afghan forces.

The US ambassador assured that his country would continue to work closely with Pakistan to ensure stability in the region. He said that as far as relations were concerned Pakistan was a very important country because of its strategic position, nuclear status and democracy. It was a high time that the two countries resumed the strategic dialogue, he was quoted as saying.

Mr Olson expressed the hope that working groups formed to deal with issues relating to energy, defence, economy, etc, would start meeting again and its mechanism would be worked out during the forthcoming visit to Pakistan of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Senator John Kerry. Chaudhry Nisar said Pakistan believed in institutional assistance rather than economic assistance. He said his government wanted long-term relations with the US based on trust and transparency.

He said Pakistan’s role in the regional context was going to be critical as the US would not like see Afghanistan returning to chaos. Because of the commonality of interests it is incumbent upon the two countries to work closely.

Chaudhry Nisar said that within two years the results of government’s new policies would manifest themselves. The relationship with the US had to progress beyond 2014, he added.