Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan on Friday called for an immediate ceasefire in the war-torn country to end what they say the existing high level of violence in order to providing a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks.
The call for truce came after foreign ministers of the three countries met in Istanbul to discuss the peace efforts in Afghanistan. The talks were attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi of Pakistan, Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu and Afghanistan’s Haneef Atmar.
Had an excellent trilateral meeting today with @MevlutCavusoglu and @MHaneefAtmar. This meeting comes at a very important time, as the Afghan Peace Process enters a critical phase and our meeting reflects our collective desire for the process to have a sustainable outcome. pic.twitter.com/LXrpuvKicv— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) April 23, 2021
The trilateral meeting came after a key conference being hosted by Turkey on Afghanistan was postponed for the second time due to Taliban’s refusal to be part of it.
A joint statement issued after the three-way talks, emphasised the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire to end the existing high level of violence and to provide a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks.
The tripartite meeting reiterated its commitment to support a peaceful, sovereign, independent, democratic and unified Afghanistan. The joint communique urged all parties, including Afghan Taliban to reaffirm their commitment to the peace process.
“Recognised that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process that aims a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire along with an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan,” the statement read.
The three foreign ministers reaffirmed their support to the Afghanistan peace process and the ongoing Afghanistan peace negotiations in Doha for the achievement of a just and durable political settlement.
Great virtual meeting with @MHaneefAtmar today. Reemphasised need for meaningful engagement for a negotiated settlement to bring an end to over 4 decades of internal conflict in 🇦🇫. Indeed peace creates greater opportunities for economic cooperation, prosperity & connectivity. pic.twitter.com/tgpt4Gf1Nf— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) April 23, 2021
The statement noted that a high-level meeting in İstanbul aimed at giving momentum to the ongoing Afghanistan peace negotiations had been postponed after extensive discussions with all relevant parties with a view to holding the conference when conditions for a meaningful progress would be more favourable.
The communique called on all parties, in particular the Taliban, to reaffirm their commitment for achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan desired by the Afghan people, the region and the international community.
The statement also deplored the continuing high level of violence in Afghanistan, especially regretted the high number of civilian casualties and particularly condemned attacks targeting civil service employees, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi held a bilateral meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar in Istanbul. During the meeting, they discussed latest developments in the Afghan peace process and strengthening of bilateral relations.
On the peace process, the foreign minister emphasised the need for concerted efforts for a meaningful engagement among the Afghan stakeholders for a negotiated settlement to bring to an end to more than four decades long conflict in Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed the hope that when the Istanbul Conference would be held, all Afghan stakeholders would use this opportunity to engage in serious negotiations to develop a roadmap for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all fields. In this regard, he highlighted the need for both sides to make effective use of APAPPS to strengthen multi-faceted institutional engagement between the two countries.
The foreign minister stated that durable peace in Afghanistan would open opportunities for enhancing regional economic cooperation and connectivity. The two ministers also discussed the need for facilitative visa regimes for the movement of peoples of the two countries and the release of prisoners on humanitarian grounds.
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