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Pakistan, Spain agree to work closely on Afghan peace

The foreign minister of Spain arrived in Islamabad. Source: APP/PID.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister of Spain Jose Manuel Albares on Friday said his government would closely work with Pakistan on efforts towards peace in Afghanistan and for the region’s future.

“We want to work very closely with Pakistan with a promise for the betterment of the region’s future,” the Spanish foreign minister said in a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The foreign minister of Spain arrived here this morning to exchange views with the leadership on the latest developments in Afghanistan and ways to strengthen bilateral relations. The two foreign ministers led the delegation-level talks focusing on the regional situation and diverse areas of cooperation between their countries.

Foreign Minister Albares said Spain acknowledged the leverage of Pakistan on Afghanistan and therefore, desired to maintain a close collaboration with it. “We both want the same thing – peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

The Spanish FM said his government would ensure the humanitarian assistance to reach the people of Afghanistan, adding that for this, “no condition would be made”.

“The aim of the Spain government is to ensure that the population of Afghanistan gets humanitarian assistance immediately,” he said, expressing hope that there would not be a spillover crisis in the region.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said as part of Pakistan’s efforts to improve situation in Afghanistan, he held 24 interactions with his counterparts during last three weeks and visited six regional countries since August 16.

He said Pakistan wanted the international community to remain engaged to achieve the common objectives of peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.

He recalled that the opportunity for reconciliation in Doha was disrupted by spoilers, that did not allow the talks to reach a conclusion. “Had there been a progress on it, the thing would have been calmer,” he said.

Qureshi stressed that the world must recognize the “new reality” in Afghanistan with the need for immediate focus on humanitarian crisis. “The best way forward is the international engagement as opposed to isolation, which would not be helpful for Afghanistan and the region,” he said.

He mentioned that Pakistani aircraft had transported food and medicine to the people of Afghanistan, with more to continue in future.

FM Qureshi said the economic collapse of Afghanistan would not suit the region and the Afghans. “The availability of resources is important to promote economic activity and freezing of Afghan funds will not be helpful,” he said.

The two foreign ministers expressed satisfaction over celebrating the 70years of diplomatic relations, marked by strong partnership in diverse areas.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan enjoys excellent bilateral relations with Spain, “reflecting the desire of both sides to further the cooperation in matters of peace and security”.

For Spain being Pakistan’s third-largest trading partner in Europe, the foreign minister thanked for its support to Pakistan on the GSP plus status and suggested early convening of the 5th round of bilateral consultation mechanism.

He urged the government of Spain to revise its travel advisory for Pakistan in view of the changed situation of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spanish FM termed Pakistan a “very important partner” for Spain and the European Union. He said over 100,00 Pakistanis living in Spain were positively contributing to the country’s economy.

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