ISLAMABAD: Observing that the ongoing negotiations represented a historic opportunity, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday stressed that it must be seized by the Afghan leadership to establish lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
He was talking to Afghan Foreign Minister Hameed Atmar during a meeting on the sidelines of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting.
The two sides exchanged views on the Afghan peace process and measures to strengthen Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations.
Foreign Minister Qureshi extended condolences to his Afghan counterpart over recent terrorist attacks in Kabul and Bamyan and reiterated Pakistan’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The foreign minister also stressed the importance of reduction in violence leading to ceasefire to save lives and advance peace efforts.
Referring to the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Kabul, the foreign minister conveyed that Pakistan remained committed to deepening bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. The foreign minister underlined that the understandings reached during the visit and the ‘Shared Vision’ of the two sides would help take this process forward.
Reiterating Pakistan’s steadfast commitment to the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister said that Pakistan would continue to facilitate the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. Noting the recent progress in intra-Afghan negotiations, he emphasised the need to remain vigilant about the role of ‘spoilers’ who did not wish to see return of peace in the region.
The foreign minister also underlined the need to utilise the tremendous potential in the economic and commercial fields which could be exploited by securing peace in Afghanistan and enhancing regional connectivity. The foreign minister further underscored that the Afghan peace process offered an opportunity for return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honour.
Appreciating Pakistan’s sincere efforts in support of the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister of Afghanistan expressed gratitude for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Kabul and its important outcomes. He also thanked Foreign Minister Qureshi for his participation in the Geneva conference and reaffirmation of Pakistan’s support for reconstruction and economic development of Afghanistan.
While reaffirming resolve to closely follow up on the Prime Minister’s visit to Kabul, the two foreign ministers agreed to pursue cooperation in relevant fields under the agreed mechanism of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2020