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Pakistan on Friday assured its full support to Afghan reconciliation process and agreed with the United States to remain engaged for pursuing the peace efforts aimed at restoration of peace and stability in the war-torn country. This was agreed during the meetings of the Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative of US Secretary of State for Afghanistan Reconciliation, with Pakistani leadership.

During his stay in Islamabad, the top US envoy met with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, held a delegation-level talks with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and also met Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. According to a statement of the Foreign Office, Ambassador Khalilzad called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and briefed him on the outcome of Doha talks and his recent engagements in the region.

Khalilzad also shared updates on his meetings in Afghanistan and the dynamics of the intra-Afghan dialogue. The foreign minister, while appreciating his efforts, reiterated Pakistan's commitment to the peace process, adding that intra-Afghan dialogue is a vital component of the reconciliation process. He also said that Pakistan wishes well for peace and stability in Afghanistan which would directly benefit Pakistan's own vision for economic and human development.

Earlier, Ambassador Khalilzad had a delegation-level talks with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua. Ambassador Khalilzad was accompanied by an interagency delegation while Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua was assisted by senior officials from the ministries of foreign affairs and defence.

The foreign secretary also briefed him about telephonic conversation between Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. She informed him about their mutual interest in further progress on Afghanistan peace efforts and that they agreed to remain engaged to pursue the reconciliation process. Speaking at his weekly media briefing on Friday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that Foreign Minister Qureshi assured Pakistan's full support to the Afghan peace process and told the US envoy that peace in Afghanistan will also be beneficial for Pakistan.

Asked whether Pakistan shared its concern with Khalilzad regarding the reaction by certain US official to Prime Minister Imran Khan's earlier proposal of interim setup in Afghanistan, the spokesperson declined to comment, but added, "Pakistan will defend its interests." According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Khalilzad called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

During the meeting, overall regional security situation with particular reference to the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process were discussed, it stated, adding that the visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan's efforts towards peace process. Before arriving in Islamabad, Khalilzad completed his five-day trip to Afghanistan where he held talks with Afghan leadership including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and others.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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