FM Qureshi emphasises need for 'close coordination' on Afghanistan in regional diplomacy tour

Published August 25, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) with Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. — Photo courtesy Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) with Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. — Photo courtesy Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday emphasised the need for "close coordination" on the situation in Afghanistan as he began a four-nation regional diplomacy tour.

A day earlier, Qureshi left for a visit to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran in order to share Pakistan’s perspective on the latest developments in the war-torn neighbouring country.

In his meeting with Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov in Tashkent, Qureshi discussed the regional security situation, particularly the evolving Afghanistan situation, according to a statement from the Foreign Office (FO).

"Emphasising Pakistan’s support for an inclusive political setup, the foreign minister remarked that peace in Afghanistan would bring stability in the region, promote trade and facilitate people to people linkages," the FO statement reads.

"It was therefore important that neighbours of Afghanistan coordinate closely on the situation in Afghanistan."

The two also discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, which they said had transformed into a "strategic partnership" due to recent frequent high-level exchanges.

They agreed to follow up on the implementation of decisions taken during Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to Uzbekistan.

"The two foreign ministers agreed to continue consultations to advance shared objectives of a peaceful, prosperous and connected region," the FO statement said.

Later in the day, Qureshi also met Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during which he conveyed Prime Minister Imran's warm greetings and reiterated Pakistan's commitment to enhance bilateral ties in all areas of mutual interests.

For his part, President Mirziyoyev termed his country's relations with Pakistan "important". He stressed that Uzbekistan was keen to develop ties with Pakistan, especially in the areas of transport and connectivity, according to an FO statement.

He agreed with Qureshi that "regional connectivity, trade and economy will be further enhanced with the peace in Afghanistan."

The president was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Imran on the sidelines of the forthcoming SCO summit in Dushanbe next month to discuss issues of mutual interest, the FO statement added.

Visit to Tajikistan

In his meeting with Tajikistan's Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin, FM Qureshi underscored the importance of continued international engagement on Afghanistan as a shared responsibility.

He briefed his Tajik counterpart on Pakistan’s policy to support an inclusive political solution in Afghanistan and expressed hope that Afghan leaders would achieve a workable solution, the FO statement said.

It added that FM Muhriddin appreciated Qureshi's initiative to reach out to Afghanistan's neighbours for a coordinated approach and the two foreign ministers agreed to remain in close contact.

Qureshi also appreciated Tajikistan's role during its presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

He also said that Prime Minister Imran was keen to visit Tajikistan for the upcoming SCO summit in September.

During his visit to Tajikistan, FM Qureshi also called upon President Emomali Rahmon and continued to stress the importance of a coordinated approach to realise the "shared objectives of a connected region" — which the Tajik president agreed with.

The foreign minister further said that both Pakistan and Tajikistan could benefit immensely from a peaceful and stable Afghanistan in terms of enhanced economic cooperation and connectivity, the FO statement said.

"During the call, FM Qureshi conveyed warm greetings from Prime Minister Imran Khan and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen relations in all areas of mutual interests."

The Tajik president in turn said that he looked forward to receiving the premier at the SCO Summit next month.

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