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Pakistan, Iran on same page for peace in Afghanistan: FM

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ISLAMABAD: An important meeting on the issue of an inclusive government in Afghanistan will get underway in Tehran today (Wednesday), with Pakistan sharing its latest assessment, after its senior diplomats and intelligence officials held day long extensive talks in Kabul last week.

The meeting of neighbouring countries of Afghanistan in principal decides that recognition of the caretaker government in Kabul will be announced with regional consensus. Pakistan at the meeting will highlight the urgent need to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to stabilise its dire economic situation.

The United States has seized billions of dollars of funds parked in its banks belonging to Afghanistan, an issue that Iran is expected to raise at Wednesday’s meeting. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood and Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq flew to Tehran on Tuesday, where they will be assisted at the talks by Ambassador of Pakistan to Iran Rahim Hayat Qureshi. Pakistan believes that the neighbours have a direct stake in the peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan. It is, therefore, important to remain engaged with a view to evolving a coordinated regional approach.

The foreign minister will deliver a statement during the meeting, sharing Pakistan’s perspective on the latest developments, and says it will continue to support the international community’s efforts to promote the shared objectives of a peaceful, stable, connected and prosperous Afghanistan.

The Islamic Emirate is not invited to the day long, second meeting of neighboring countries of Afghanistan being hosted by Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr Amir Abdullahian. “At Pakistan’s initiative, the first meeting of neighbouring countries of Afghanistan was held on 8th September 2021. The meeting concluded with a joint statement, reflecting neighbouring countries’ approach to Afghanistan”, said the Foreign Office announcing the visit.

Besides Iran and Russia, the meeting will be attended by China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, who all have land borders with Afghanistan. “The six countries will be focused on how they can help form an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the presence of all ethnic groups, and how they can help shape a future of peace and security in Afghanistan,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman at the Iran’s Foreign Ministry prior to the meeting.

Qureshi after he arrived in Tehran held meeting with Dr Amir Abdullahian over a working luncheon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. Recalling Pakistan’s initiative to evolve regional approach on Afghanistan, the foreign minister remarked that his visit of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iran led to the first meeting of the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, which was held virtually on 8th September 2021. He said that Pakistan and Iran are on same page for establishing peace in Afghanistan.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted importance of close coordination between the two countries, adding that joint efforts would achieve shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.”

Sharing his perspective on Afghanistan following his visit to Kabul on 21st October, 2021, the foreign minister highlighted the urgent need to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to stabilise economic situation. He reaffirmed that Pakistan would continue to extend support to Afghan brethren by facilitating trade and movement across border. In the bilateral context, the foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to enhance bilateral relations in all areas, adding that Pakistan considered Iran a close neighbour and important country. Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated Iran’s steadfast support on Kashmir issue, especially at the highest level.

Dr Amir Abdullahian thanked Foreign Minister Qureshi for accepting the invitation to participate in the second meeting of the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, to be held on 27th October, 2021 and reaffirmed importance of close coordination on Afghanistan. He expressed hope for the success of joint efforts to help Afghanistan on its path to peace and prosperity. He reiterated Iran’s full commitment to strengthen bilateral relations in all fields.

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