Pakistan will 'do all' to help end bloodshed in Afghanistan, Qureshi tells special envoy

Published January 8, 2019
Mohammad Umer Daudzai says the foreign minister's visits to Kabul are a "clear proof of Pakistan's strong support for Afghanistan". —PID/File
Mohammad Umer Daudzai says the foreign minister's visits to Kabul are a "clear proof of Pakistan's strong support for Afghanistan". —PID/File

The Afghan president's special envoy for regional consensus on Afghan peace met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday, in what was his first visit abroad following his appointment to the new position.

Mohammad Umer Daudzai conveyed President Ashraf Ghani's greetings to the Pakistani leadership and expressed Afghanistan's "strong desire to work closely with Pakistan in all areas of mutual interest", a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.

The special envoy also relayed "deep appreciation of the sincerity and vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for peace and stability in Pakistan", the press release added.

Daudzai acknowledged that the fact that Qureshi visited Kabul thrice within a span of four months was "a clear proof of Pakistan's strong support for Afghanistan".

During his visit, the envoy briefed the foreign minister on the nature of his position which entails that he "help create harmony among the various stakeholders".

The foreign minister welcomed Daudzai and assured him of Pakistan's commitment to peace in the region. He said stability in Afghanistan was in Pakistan's own national interest, and necessary for economic development and prosperity in the region.

Qureshi highlighted the growing global view that the suffering of the Afghan people needs to be brought to an end through a peaceful resolution of the conflict. He assured the envoy that Pakistan "would do all to help the people of Afghanistan see the earliest possible end to bloodshed and enter a new phase of peace and prosperity".

The Afghan special envoy noted that the two countries had a "unique relationship marked by commonalities and similarity of interests". He stressed that the relationship needed to be utilised to its fullest through various bilateral cooperation mechanisms.

He communicated the Afghan government's strong desire to take maximum advantage of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in all areas of cooperation.

Daudzai noted that "enhancing bilateral trade and economic activities and more regular cultural and people-to-people contacts was the need of the hour", according to the FO statement.

To this end, both sides agreed to regularly exchange high-level visits and recognised that the "brotherly feelings between the two people" owing to historical bonds must be harnessed to usher in a new era in Pak-Afghan relations.

Talks with the Taliban

The first US-Taliban talks facilitated by Pakistan were held last month in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which United States diplomats and Taliban representatives met with the aim of finding a negotiated settlement of the war in Afghanistan.

The meeting in Abu Dhabi was also attended by officials from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

This month's talks, the fourth in a series aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan, are scheduled between Taliban leaders and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces and a possible ceasefire in 2019.

Leaders of the hardline militant group have, however, rejected the Kabul government’s offer for direct talks, despite growing international pressure in favour of the Western-backed Afghan government having a seat at the table.

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