Afghanistan peace process result of recent developments: Lodhi

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NEW YORK: Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations (UN) Maleeha Lodhi remarked on Tuesday, that prospects for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan have brightened as a result of recent developments.
Speaking at the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) quarterly debate on Afghanistan the Pakistani envoy said, the ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban was a “moment of hope and opportunity.”
“A three-day ceasefire between Afghan security forces and the Taliban on Eid-ul-Fitr, resulted in an unprecedented pause in a war that has raged for almost 17 years,” she said.
Lodhi added the ceasefire by Taliban demonstrated that its leadership has control of the movement and is cohesive enough to negotiate a political settlement.
The ambassador also reminded the 15-member council that over the years, Pakistan has consistently advocated that a negotiated settlement is the only viable solution to the decades of conflict and suffering in Afghanistan.
She also pointed out that almost 17 years of war waged by the world’s most powerful military forces have not yielded a military solution, asserting that only a negotiated political solution could deliver peace and security.
According to Lodhi, the path to peace in Afghanistan was arduous but achievable, but as a first step, all the parties concerned must commit themselves to a negotiated solution to the conflict.
“This offers the best chance to end the suffering of the Afghan people and restore peace to Afghanistan and stability to the region,” she said.
She expressed hope that the search for peace through a dialogue process would assume the highest priority for the Afghan government, the Taliban, the Coalition forces, Afghanistan’s neighbors and for the international community.
The ambassador also stressed upon a negotiated peace and national reconciliation, which posed a threat to Afghanistan, its neighbors and the global community.
“They [Daesh] need to be defeated urgently and decisively,” she said.
“We must not allow these groups to drive Afghanistan into another vortex of violence and instability, which would compound the threat to the region’s security.”
She reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment and support to a peace process for a political settlement, emphasizing that Pakistan has participated in all regional and international forums on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan including the Moscow format.
The Pakistani ambassador added Pakistan has extended all assistance at the political level, as well as through robust counterterrorism operations, to help promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.
According to Lodhi, the recently concluded Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) will provide a structured platform for engagement between the two countries in all spheres, political, economic and military.
Recent exchanges between Islamabad and Kabul have also helped to create an environment of trust and inject a positive impetus to bilateral relations.

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