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'Pakistan assures US officials its support to accelerate Afghan peace talks'

April 30, 2019

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US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (R) in a meeting with Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood. — PID
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (R) in a meeting with Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood. — PID

US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, on Tuesday held discussions with various government and military officials, including Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, regarding the Afghan peace talks, according to the US Mission in Pakistan.

Khalilzad, during the meetings, "requested and received" Islamabad's support "to accelerate the intra-Afghan peace dialogue and negotiations", according to the US Mission's statement.

The special envoy, who was on a two-day visit of Pakistan, also met Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, and appreciated "Prime Minister Khan’s recent remarks in support of the peace process and a broader vision for stability and prosperity in the region".

Khalilzad was assured of Pakistan's support necessary for a comprehensive settlement in the region, an essential part of which is "the need to accelerate intra-Afghan peace talks as well as a reduction in violence", the statement added.

Ambassador Khalilzad reiterated that "an end to the war will bring long overdue peace and stability for Afghans and an independent Afghanistan that precludes it from being used by terrorists to attack the United States or any other country".

He also underscored the importance of peace with regard to "facilitating regional economic integration", adding that "such integration contributes to advancing PM Khan's vision for a development-centric transformation of Pakistan."

Ambassador Wells also met leading government representatives "to discuss regional security, including joint efforts to advance the Afghan peace process", according to a separate statement issued by the US Mission in Pakistan.

She stressed the importance of "all actors in the region taking steps to advance security, stability, and cooperation in South Asia".

Opportunities to strengthen economic ties, as well as growth in other areas in the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, were also discussed during the ambassador's meetings with the officials.

"Ambassador Wells also met think tank representatives and political leaders from various political parties," the US mission statement said, adding that she "highlighted the United States’ commitment to work collaboratively to advance the shared goals of the American and Pakistani people".