ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday welcomed the expected resumption of US-Taliban talks that have remained suspended for three months and urged all parties to the Afghan conflict to engage constructively.
“Pakistan welcomes the announcement regarding resumption of the US-Taliban talks. We hope that it will lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and ultimately to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
“Pakistan encourages all parties to the conflict to engage constructively as a shared responsibility,” it added.
The US State Department has announced that Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad would visit Qatar for “rejoining talks with Taliban”.
The meeting, in which the two sides will discuss a political settlement of the Afghan conflict, start of an intra-Afghan negotiations process and ceasefire, is expected to take place next week. Amb Khalilzad is currently in Kabul for exchange of views with Afghan leaders.
The US-Taliban talks were abruptly called off by President Donald Trump in September after an attack in Kabul in which an American soldier was killed. The two sides were then close to signing a deal, which would have paved the way for ending the war in Afghanistan and withdrawal of US forces.
Donald Trump during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan last week for joining American troops there on Thanksgiving Day disclosed that the talks were being resumed and that Taliban had agreed to a ceasefire.
The Foreign Office further said the resumption of talks had vindicated Pakistan’s longstanding position that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. “An inclusive peace and reconciliation process, involving all segments of the Afghan society, is the only practical way forward,” it added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a meeting with ambassadors of European countries briefed them on Pakistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The FO said the envoys appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in this regard.
During the meeting, he hoped that the recently-agreed Pak-EU Strategic Engagement Plan would contribute to improving bilateral relations and economic cooperation with the European Union.
Mr Qureshi asked the EU ambassadors to review travel advisory to Pakistan in view of improved security and peace situation in the country.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019