ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz while attending a high level event on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly said the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan was essential for Pakistan's own security.

Sartaj reiterated Pakistan's solidarity with Afghan people and expressed hope that the Afghan peace process would be resumed soon, as this as this was an important pre-requisite for peace and stability in the country.

He said Pakistan was ready to facilitate peace talks, if the Afghan Government so desired.

Read: Afghanistan seethes at Taliban meetings 'held in Pakistan'

Sartaj stressed that Pakistan's efforts to persuade the Afghan Taliban to participate in peace talks should not, however, be interpreted as indirect endorsement of the current surge of violence in Afghanistan.

The high-level event "Afghanistan’s Peaceful Reconstruction and Regional Cooperation" co-hosted by Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and United States Secretary of State John Kerry was held on Saturday.

Also read: Afghan team advised to resume talks with Taliban

Participants of the event included, among others, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yilmaz and the foreign ministers of Australia, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway, and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

A number of delegations reiterated their pledge for long-term support for Afghanistan. They emphasised that "great games" of the past should be converted into the "great gains" for the future of Afghanistan.

It was underscored that the interest of Afghan people, who had suffered enormously in the past, should be held above everything. In this regard, the Afghan Government and the Taliban were encouraged to compromise and meet at "half way" for their country's peace and stability.

A co-chair’s statement issued after the Event expressed long term support for political process, economic reconstruction, security and stability, regional cooperation as well as peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Pakistan-Turkey meeting

In a meeting held on sidelines of the UNGA, Sartaj Aziz and Turkish Foreign Minister (FM) Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğulu, agreed to expedite work on the mutual Free Trade Area (FTA) to expand trade between the two countries.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction on positive momentum in their brotherly relations, achieved as a result of frequent high-level exchanges as well as signature economic projects, like the Metro Bus, urban waste management and energy sector cooperation.

They agreed to further enhance cooperation in defence industry and maintain high-level contacts on important regional and strategic matters.

The two leaders also reviewed regional and global issues of peace and security, with a particular focus on Afghanistan and Syria. Aziz briefed his Turkish counterpart on the situation in Afghanistan.

The two countries agreed to maintain their bilateral and trilateral mechanisms of consultations. The Turkish FM appreciated the positive role Pakistan played in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.

Foreign Minister Sinirlioğulu gave a roundup of the situation in Syria, as well as Turkish endeavours to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Sartaj Aziz commended the efforts of the Turkish Government to host over two million Syrian refugees.

The NSA briefed Sinirlioğulu on preparations for the Heart of Asia Conference to be held in Islamabad later this year.

Appreciating the progress achieved in the Istanbul Process, the Turkish FM promised active participation by Turkey.

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