U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss “the progress related to the Afghan peace process.”
Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan is part of his tour of engagement for consultations and exchange of views on the intra-Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement said the two leaders exchanged thoughts on regional issues and Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the U.S.-Taliban direct talks culminating in the Doha Peace Agreement.
He stressed that the Afghan leaders should seize “this historic opportunity and work together to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement.
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Reiterating that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is important for the region, Qureshi and Khalilzad agreed that the latest developments such as the formation of the negotiating teams are conducive.
Qureshi expressed the hope that the prisoner release process would be completed soon to pave the way for the earliest commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations and urged that all sides should make earnest efforts for reduction in violence.
The foreign minister also emphasized that it was important to not let spoilers undermine or sabotage the process as it has entered a crucial stage.
Noting the 40-year hospitality extended to Afghan refugees, the Pakistani minister underlined the role of the international community for a time-bound and well-resourced roadmap for the repatriation of Afghan refugees with “dignity and honour.”
Qureshi also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to continue working with regional and international partners to support efforts for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
He added that Pakistan remained ready to engage in endeavours to facilitate closer Pakistan-Afghanistan economic partnership and regional connectivity projects.
Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.