Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan urge Taliban to commit to Afghan peace talks


ISTANBUL – Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan on Friday urged the Taliban to commit to talks aimed at achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement to end longstanding Afghan conflict.

The call was made by foreign ministers of three countries in a trilateral meeting held in Istanbul a day after Taliban refused to attend a conference scheduled for April 24 to fast-track an agreement between the militant group and the Afghan government in light of the US plan to withdraw their troops by September 11.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Afghanistan’s Mohammad Haneef Atmar attended the conference and reiterated their support to a peaceful, sovereign and independent Afghanistan.

It stressed that lasting peace could be attained only through an “inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process”.

The meeting also hailed the efforts of Turkey, Qatar and the UN to hold a high-level meeting in Istanbul in order to expedite the peace talks.

The foreign ministers “recalled that the Istanbul Conference had been postponed after extensive discussions with all relevant parties with a view to holding the Conference when conditions for making meaningful progress would be more favorable”.

They also called for immediate end to the violence in Afghanistan, besides condemning attacks civil service employees, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers.

FM Qureshi in a series of tweets said the meeting comes at a very important time, as the Afghan Peace Process enters a critical phase and our meeting reflects our collective desire for the process to have a sustainable outcome.

“An inclusive peace, the end of violence and a stable Afghanistan is beneficial,  promoting trans regional connectivity and a hub for East-West, North-South connectivity. The Int’l community must remain engaged with Afghanistan in reconstruction and economic development,” he said.

“Reemphasised need for meaningful engagement for a negotiated settlement to bring an end to over 4 decades of internal conflict in Afghanistan. Indeed peace creates greater opportunities for economic  cooperation, prosperity & connectivity,” he added.

Pakistani foreign minister reached Turkey today on a two-day long official visit. He will hold bilateral talks with his counterpart.

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