Afghan peace process: Pakistan takes friends on board


–Foreign Minister Qureshi, Russian counterpart Lavrov discuss Afghan peace process in Moscow

–Lavrov acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts in Afghan settlement, offers Russia’s support to bring stability in region

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has taken its regional partners and neighbours on board regarding the outcome of the recently held dialogue between Washington and Afghan Taliban for the political settlement of the Afghan conflict.

According to sources in the federal government, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed his Chinese, Iranian, Afghan and Russian counterparts over the recently concluded Afghan peace dialogue and sought their support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“The biggest question for Pakistan was to ensure that all its neighbours were on board for a negotiated settlement of the Afghanistan mess. For this purpose, Pakistan is mustering political and diplomatic support for the Afghanistan solution. The biggest question, however, would remain that if the US leaves Afghanistan in the lurch again, who would provide funding to develop war-torn Afghanistan,” sources said.

When asked if Qureshi had discussed with the four neighbours funding for Afghan development, sources said that funding would be discussed once the US negotiators spoke their mind on Afghanistan settlement. “It would be premature to discuss funding at this juncture. But all the issues would be on the table now.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday met Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov in Moscow as part of the government’s policy of outreach in the neighbouring countries.

He was accompanied by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

The FM led detailed talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the MoFA of the Russian Federation, on various bilateral and regional issues.

“Both the ministers agreed to continue efforts, including through Moscow Format of Consultations, for supporting reconciliation under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. Recent developments concerning Afghan peace process were also discussed,” an official handout issued here said.

“It was underlined that being the most important stakeholders, Pakistan and Russia had shared interests and concerns in Afghanistan and had the common goal of supporting all efforts to restore peace and stability in the country,” said the statement.

The handout quoted Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as acknowledging Pakistan’s efforts in the Afghan settlement and offered Russia’s support to bring stability in the region.

“Both leaders also underscored the need to harmonise various regional approaches for developing a regional consensus on various issues,” the statement added.

Qureshi also expressed government of Pakistan’s desire to forge a long-term, multidimensional partnership and friendship with Russia. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the upward trajectory of bilateral relations.

The first meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev in Shanghai in November 2018 had set the tone to deepen cooperation in all areas. Views were also exchanged to support each other’s position in multilateral forums. It was also decided to maintain close and regular contact for strengthening understanding of important issues.

It merits mention that prior to visiting Moscow, Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Kabul, Tehran and Beijing and took his three counterparts into confidence on Afghan peace dialogue.

Qureshi had arrived in Moscow on the final leg of his four-nation tour Wednesday.

Earlier, during these meetings, Qureshi renewed Pakistan’s commitment to assist in furthering peace in Afghanistan and the region.

The visit is part of promoting various initiatives and ideas for regional cooperation, especially in promoting economic and people-to-people linkages.


During his earlier visits to the four nations, the foreign minister discussed Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the senior leadership of these countries, to strengthen cooperation in various areas.

“Implementing the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan is eager to strengthen ties with neighbours and regional partners. Such cooperation is the key to unleashing Pakistan’s considerable potential and expanding mutually beneficial economic cooperation and development,” the official statement issued on Monday said.

Besides detailed exchange of views on important areas of bilateral cooperation, views will also be exchanged on the fast-changing regional and international environment. Recent developments concerning peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan would also be discussed during these meetings.

“Pakistan has always maintained that the solution to the conflict in Afghanistan lies in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. International community’s recent consensus to adopt this as the guiding principle to resolve the 40-years old Afghan conflict vindicates Pakistan’s long-held view,” the release added.

The visit is part of promoting various initiatives and ideas for regional cooperation, especially to encourage economic and people-to-people linkages.


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