Pakistan’s interests linked with solidarity and sovereignty of Afghanistan, says Shah Mehmood

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 28 :Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has assured the visiting Afghan reconciliatory leader Dr Abdullah Abdullah that Pakistan would not inch back in extending facilitation to Afghanistan for resumption of peace.

Addressing a press conference Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the state institutions of Pakistan were on the same page to support resumption of peace in Afghanistan.“Pakistan’s interests are linked with the solidarity and sovereignty of Afghanistan,” he said.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah arrived here this morning on a three-day visit, where he is scheduled to meet the country’s leadership on matters related to peace process in Afghanistan.Updating about his meeting with Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the Foreign Minister said he assured the Afghan leader that Pakistan would continue to play its role as a facilitator in ensuring peace in Afghanistan.

Terming the peace deal between the Afghan Taliban and the United States a ‘golden opportunity’, Qureshi said he urged upon the Afghan delegation to seize the chance in the interest of sustainable peace.

“I advised them to move forward and decide for themselves about the future of their country, while Pakistan will be ever-ready to act as a facilitator,” he said. The Foreign Minister recalled that Pakistan always favoured a political solution for Afghanistan, instead of a military option.

He said the visit of Afghan delegation in the “current conducive environment” would open up a new chapter of fraternity in Pak-Afghan relations as “Pakistan desired end of violence and ceasefire between the groups in Afghanistan”.

He expressed confidence that strengthening of relations between the two neighbouring countries would enhance bilateral trade and regional connectivity.He said Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood would soon be visiting Afghanistan to hold discussions related to connectivity projects.The Foreign Minister also mentioned the gratitude expressed by the Afghan delegation over Pakistan’s continued support for the peace process.

Earlier, Dr Abdullah Abdullah and his delegation were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two sides held talks focusing on Afghan reconciliation process, Intra-Afghan dialogue and bilateral matters.Dr Abdullah Abdullah planted a sapling of pine at the lawns of the Ministry as a tradition reserved for the high-level dignitaries.

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