Pakistan to participate in four-party meeting on Afghan peace talks


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Wednesday said Pakistan will take part in the upcoming round of a four-party meeting on the Afghan peace talks which are scheduled to be held in Moscow.

During a weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Faisal said Additional Secretary for Afghanistan and West Asia Muhammad Aejaz will represent Pakistan at the meeting.

“Pakistan has been a part of all efforts and processes so far to discuss and facilitate peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan,” he said, adding: “Pakistan’s role is particularly noteworthy in crystalising international convergence for a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan.”

In July, a round of the four-party meeting on the Afghan peace process was held in Beijing. This had been the third meeting of the trilateral forum, which includes China, Russia, and the United States, but the first to involve Pakistan.

At the time, US reconciliation envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had said the US, Russia, China and Pakistan had endorsed the need for a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan, which should start simultaneously with the intra-Afghan talks.

Earlier this month, a high-level Afghan Taliban delegation visited Pakistan. The visit had coincided with Khalilzad’s trip to Islamabad who had come to Pakistan for the first time after the US President Donald Trump abruptly halted the talks with the Taliban last month.

In response to a question regarding the upcoming talks, Dr Faisal today said: “The next round is being held in Moscow at an opportune moment as it would provide an important opportunity to review the currently stalled peace process.”

He added that Pakistan will continue its efforts of “wholehearted support as its part of shared responsibility for making the international peace efforts successful in Afghanistan”.

In a separate development, a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that China has invited their delegation to attend an “intra-Afghan” conference in Beijing, Outlook reported.

Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban political spokesman, said on Twitter that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the militant group, had met with Chinese diplomats in Doha, where the organisation has a political office.

“Both sides discussed the upcoming intra-Afghan conference in Beijing and issues related to the solution of Afghan problem,” Shaheen wrote.

He was later quoted as saying that the conference would take place on October 29-30.