Islamabad, Feb 19: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday expressed concern over the current level of violence in Afghanistan and urged all sides to take measures towards a ceasefire in the war-torn country. He was talking to Afghan leader Ahmed Wali Massoud, who is head of Massoud Foundation and is visiting Pakistan, according to the Foreign Office (FO).
During the meeting, the two focused on the Afghan Peace Process and Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations. The foreign minister expressed serious concern at the current level of violence and underscored that all sides must take measures for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire.
He also underlined the need for being vigilant about the role of spoilers. Highlighting that Pakistan had no favourites in Afghanistan, Qureshi reiterated that Pakistan’s message to all sides was to work together constructively for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, which would open new vistas for trade, economic cooperation and regional connectivity.
He reaffirmed that Pakistan, on its part, will continue to play a constructive role. The Foreign Minister highlighted Pakistan’s facilitation of the US-Taliban Peace Agreement and the commencement of Intra-Afghan negotiations.
He stressed that this historic opportunity must be seized by the Afghan leaders to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. Qureshi highlighted that Pakistan had taken a number of steps to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and people-to-people linkages including opening of border despite COVID-19, introduction of friendly visa regime, and scholarships for Afghan students.
In another development, Incoming Commander of US Central Command, General Kenneth F. Mc Kenzie Jr, on Friday discussed the Afghan peace process with Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The army said in a statement that Kenzie Jr met with Bajwa at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.
Matters of mutual interest, regional security situation with particular reference to ongoing Afghanistan reconciliation process were discussed during the meeting, according to the statement. The two officials expressed unanimity of views on the importance of political resolution of Afghan situation.
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