Afghan peace accord to be signed in Pakistan’s presence: FM Qureshi

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said the Afghan peace treaty would be signed in Pakistan’s presence.

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Speaking to the media in Multan, Qureshi said the efforts for the success of the Afghan peace process were a Herculean task. Pakistan, he said, was making efforts to constitute an extensive delegation after February 29 to promote intra-Afghan dialogue.

“It was not an easy task and Pakistan’s honest efforts made the process finally successful and result-oriented,” he said. The foreign minister added Pakistan made the world realise that Afghan peace was only possible through peace talks and not war.

“Pakistan convinced the world to make efforts for a political solution to the Afghan problem through dialogue. It was hard to convince the Taliban for the peace process, but Pakistan made them join the process,” the foreign minister said.

Qureshi said Pakistan played a key role in resumption of the peace process, which had been suspended since US President Trump announced the suspension of the Afghan peace process after the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Pakistan made positive efforts for an early resumption of dialogue, he added.

The foreign minister further said Pakistan played a key role in the release of two abductees and helped in the resumption of dialogue in Doha, which was not an easy task. Qureshi said the signs were positive as both parties in the Afghan peace process had declared settling of affairs and reaching an agreement.

He underlined the need for addressing the issue of reducing violence before signing of the agreement. He said not only the US, but also the entire world acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s role in the resolution of the Afghan issue.

The foreign minister added US special envoy on Afghan Affairs, Zalmay Khalilzad, in his recent visit to Islamabad, held a detailed discussion and consultation with Prime Minister Imran Khan to finalise a roadmap for the peace process.

Qureshi said he had informed Khalilzad that some forces were conspiring to sabotage the peace process. He had told the visiting officials that the conspirators were direct beneficiaries of the war in Afghanistan and the US and its allies should focus on them also.

The foreign minister noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pakistan at a time when there were tensions between Pakistan and the US. “Mike Pompeo linked improvement in the US-Pakistan relations with improvement in the peace process in Kabul. I made Mike Pompeo realise that we have honoured our commitments and helped materialise the Afghan peace process,” he added.

“Now it is the responsibility of the Afghan leadership which had paid a heavy price in the form of financial and human losses. They should come forward and think about their future,” he added.

US-Taliban peace deal

Pompeo on Friday announced that the agreement between the country and Taliban will take place on February 29, 2020.

“US negotiators in Doha have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant and nationwide reduction in violence across Afghanistan. Upon a successful implementation of this understanding, signing of the US-Taliban agreement is expected to move forward. We are preparing for the signing to take place on February 29,” read a statement from Pompeo after his visit to Saudi Arabia.

His statement mentioned that after the agreement, Intra-Afghanistan negotiations will attempt to bring about a “comprehensive and permanent ceasefire” and decide the future political roadmap for Afghanistan.

“Challenges remain, but the progress made in Doha provides hope and represents a real opportunity. The United States calls on all Afghans to seize this moment,” the statement read.

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