More progress in US-Taliban talks expected: FM

Qureshi apprises panel in Munich of Pakistan’s strong role in ending Afghan stalemate


Our Correspondent February 15, 2019
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi has highlighted the country’s strong support in breaking the political stalemate in Afghanistan, saying Pakistan has sincerely responded to the US request for facilitating the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan that led to direct US-Taliban talks in Abu Dhabi and Doha.

“Important breakthroughs have been achieved by the two sides while more progress is expected in the upcoming rounds of negotiations in Doha,” said the foreign minister during a panel discussion on ‘Update on Afghanistan’ during the Munich Security Conference on Friday.

The panel also included Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, former US secretary of state John Kerry and Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib.

“Pakistan offered maximum cooperation and facilitation to the US Special Representative on Afghan Peace and Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in his mission, which has been acknowledged by him and the Trump administration,” said Qureshi.

The minister briefed the audience about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s long-standing vision for a peaceful settlement of Afghan conflict as opposed to finding a military solution.

Qureshi said Pakistan’s approach for peace in Afghanistan had shaped the international community’s opinion to give a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan a fair chance, through an inclusive peace and reconciliation process that is fully led and owned by the Afghans themselves.

“Pakistan’s vision is practical and in sync with the ground realities of Afghanistan and the region,” said Qureshi, adding that Pakistan had acted as an honest and reliable bridge between Afghanistan and the international community to share its hard earned experiences to set the direction right for a peaceful resolution of the four-decade-old conflict.

“Pakistan has been supporting all peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan as part of its shared responsibility with other regional countries and the international community,” he said.

“Pakistan desires to see a genuine and inclusive peace and reconciliation process with full Afghan ownership,” he said. “Such a process would provide the foundation for an intra-Afghan dialogue that would be the key towards resolving sensitive and critical national issues by the Afghans themselves.”

Qureshi remarked that no country other than Pakistan would benefit more from peace in Afghanistan as after Afghanistan no other country had suffered as much as Pakistan.

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