Afghan peace course must continue to end the conflict: Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that peace and stability in Afghanistan is indispensable and very important for Pakistan.
Addressing a webinar through video link on Friday, the foreign minister said Afghanistan is not just the neighbour of Pakistan but both the countries have historic relations based on faith and culture.
The foreign minister said for more than four decades, the Afghan people have been deeply affected by instability and the ongoing conflict in their country. He said Pakistan has been hardest hit by the effects of this conflict.
The foreign minister said the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan offers hopes and optimism that the decades-long conflict will end. It also offers new prospects for lasting
peace, economic development and regional connectivity. He said the positive momentum of the inter-Afghan dialogue must be maintained and this historic opportunity must not be missed.
He said the peace process must be protected from the elements that are trying to disrupt it. In this regard, Shah Mahmood Qureshi underlined that the world community should urge all parties to agree on ways to reduce violence that could lead to a ceasefire.
Appreciating the role of SCO in Afghan peace process, he urged the world community to prepare a roadmap for post-conflict reconstruction and economic development in Afghanistan, including a timetable for the return of Afghan refugees.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the Afghan peace deal in a telephone call with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the State Department said on Thursday.
Blinken talked about the US commitment to an enduring US-Afghan partnership, said spokesperson Ned Price in a statement. “The Secretary highlighted robust diplomatic support for the peace process focused on helping the parties to the conflict achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire that benefits all Afghans,” said the statement.
The top diplomat “shared that the United States is reviewing the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement and whether the Taliban are living up to their commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders,” it said. Blinken urged Afghan leaders to support the “historic opportunity” for peace in the region. – TLTP

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