QCG to step up efforts to bring Taliban to talks

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Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—The Quadrilateral Cooperation Group (QCG) on Afghanistan at its fifth meeting here the capital on Wednesday decided to further accelerate efforts to revive the direct peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary hosted the meeting at the foreign office. Others who attended the meeting included Afghan Presidents Special Envoy and Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, the Special Representative of the United States for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard G. Olson, and Chinas Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs Ambassador Deng Xijun.
The QCG reiterated that violence serves no purpose and that peace negotiations remain the only option for a political settlement. In this respect, QCG countries reaffirmed to use their respective leverages and influences.
The meeting also strongly condemned the April 19 terrorist attack in Kabul and underscored that those who perpetrate such acts of terrorism should be ready to face consequences of their actions.
The QCG expressed their continued determination with shared commitment to advance the goal of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. The next QCG meeting will be convened as mutually agreed. The QCG process involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States was established on the sidelines of Heart of Asia Conference last December with the aim to revive the Afghan peace process. Its fourth meeting was earlier held in Kabul in which Taliban was called upon to come to the table of negotiations but all efforts on the part of QCG countries failed to achieve this goal.
During the fifth round of meeting held at the foreign office, Pakistan reiterated the commitment for an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process and supported the dialogue process as the way forward to ensure peace and stability in the region. The QCG countries agreed to continue their efforts for the revival of peace process at the earliest.

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