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Khwaja Asif emphasizes regional approach for lasting peace in Afghanistan

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ISLAMABAD, Mar 27 (APP):Leading Pakistani delegation to the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan, F oreign Minister Khwaja Asif emphasized the need of a regional approach for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, and the region.

The foreign minister appreciated Uzbekistan and its leadership on this regional initiative for peace in Afghanistan, cooperation on counter-terrorism and connectivity, said a press release issued here on Tuesday.

Khwaja Asif said Pakistan had consistently stressed for the resolution of Afghan conflict through a political settlement. He said bringing Taliban to the table and establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan was a shared responsibility of the international community.

Khwaja Asif reiterated Pakistan’s support for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s national peace and reconciliation plan unveiled during Kabul process meeting on February 28, and his offer of peace talks to Taliban under an Afghan-led and owned process.

He said there was a need of collective pressure on Taliban to avail this opportunity to shun violence and join the peace process.

The foreign minister expressed concern over unchecked proliferation of Daesh and phenomenal increase in drug production in Afghanistan.

He emphasized the need for cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours to prevent cross-border movement of terrorists and criminal networks, adding Pakistan’s proposal entitled “Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity” was aimed at developing mechanisms for bilateral cooperation in security, counter-terrorism, border controls and smooth return of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif called on Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the conference. The two sides reaffirmed commitment to continued efforts for deepening bilateral relations through concrete cooperation in trade, economy, defence and cultural fields.

Khwaja Asif also held bilateral meetings with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cevasoglu, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Abdildaev Erlan and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong.

APP/taj

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