Pakistan hopeful for resumption of direct US-Taliban talks for Afghan peace

Pakistan hopeful for resumption of direct US-Taliban talks for Afghan peace

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has expressed the hope that the resumption of direct talks between the United States and the Taliban would open the way towards intra-Afghan negotiations that would lead to a peaceful settlement of the long-drawn conflict in Afghanistan.
Speaking in the U.N. General Assembly’s debate on the situation in war-torn Afghanistan, Ambassador Munir Akram pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan had responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s request to help launch direct talks with the Taliban, and when that process broke down, Pakistan hosted a meeting of the Taliban Political Commission and helped to ease tensions by facilitating the release of American and Australian prisoners.
Those efforts have now led to a resumption of US-Taliban in Doha, the Pakistani envoy said, expressing hope that they will result in a fresh round of peaceful, direct dialogue and ultimately a peace agreement.
“Such a peace settlement should also ensure that no terrorist groups operate from Afghanistan,” Ambassador Akram told the 193-member Assembly.
Echoing expressions of concern about the still fragile security situation, Ambassador Akram said Pakistan enjoys a close relationship with Afghanistan and supports its vital pursuit of peace and stability.
“Apart from Afghanistan itself, there is no country that has suffered more than Pakistan from the four decades of war and foreign interventions in Afghanistan,” he said.
“There is no other country which will gain more from peace in Afghanistan.”
In June, Ambassador Akram said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan committed to adopt a forward-looking approach and move away from the distrust of the past.
“Opening of the Torkham crossing for commercial traffic on a 24/7 basis and opening of our airspace have added another tangible dimension to closer cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Pakistan, he said, had provided significant assistance to Afghanistan in development, aid in the education, health, reconstruction and infrastructure development sectors, giving details of the specific projects to the General Assembly.
“Peace in Afghanistan will open the door to economic cooperation and investment including projects such as Belt in Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” the Pakistani envoy said.
Pakistan has hosted millions of Afghan refugees for four decades, he said, adding, “We remain committed to their safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation.” …APP

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