FM Qureshi urges Afghan leaders to achieve political settlement at earliest

Qureshi meets his Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar in Dushanbe.

DUSHANBE: In a meeting with Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged the Afghan leadership to achieve a “negotiated political settlement at the earliest” as US forces withdraw from the country.

According to a statement issued by Foreign Office, Shah Mehmood Qureshi met his Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar today (Tuesday) on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Dushanbe.

FM Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s “consistent support” to a peaceful and united Afghanistan, which is at peace with itself and its neighbours.

The foreign minister remarked that Afghan leaders should seize the current “historic opportunity” and take advantage of international convergence on the final settlement of the Afghan conflict by working together on an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

He also expressed concern over high levels of violence in Afghanistan which has resulted in the loss of many lives and emphasised the need to take immediate steps to decrease violence, leading to a comprehensive ceasefire.

Highlighting that negative statements could not cloud Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process, and that blame game would not serve the region, the Foreign Minister urged his Afghan counterpart to address all concerns through established institutional mechanisms, including APAPPS.

He said that Pakistan looked forward to hosting review meeting of APAPPS in Islamabad at the earliest. “Pakistan supports a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which would yield mutual dividends and benefits in terms of peace in the region, economic prosperity and regional connectivity,” he added.