UNITED NATIONS, Dec 19 (APP):Amid escalating efforts for peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan has expressed the hope that the latest round of talks between U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban in Abu Dhabi would pave the way for a negotiated settlement of the 17-year-old war.
“Other than the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan has the greatest to gain from the restoration of peace and stability in our neighbouring country,” Pakistani delegate Tipu Usman told the UN Security Council.
“The government of Pakistan, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, is committed to extending all possible support to facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he said while participating in a debate on the situation in Afghanistan.
For Afghan parties, the Pakistani delegate said, there was no alternative to acknowledging that an unconditional dialogue was the only path to peace.
“They (the Afghan parties) are the ones that need to make the tough but necessary compromises to get there,” said Usman, who is a counsellor at the Pakistan Mission to the UN.
He said that instability caused by the vicious cycle of foreign military interventions and civil war had engulfed the entire region and impeded peace, development and progress.
While the international community was committed to bringing the conflict to a negotiated end, “we finally see efforts to actually achieve this goal”, he said, emphasizing that the present moment could prove to be a watershed in Afghanistan’s long, violent history.
“The hope for a negotiated settlement was kindled by the observance of a ceasefire by all parties earlier this year,” the Pakistani delegate said. What Afghanistan needed was to galvanize all parties to the conflict to commence negotiations for a sustainable solution.
On its part, he said, Pakistan envisaged a future of close economic cooperation in the region, helping Kabul realize its ambition of becoming a regional hub for trade and energy.
To this end, during the second round of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan trilateral Foreign Minister dialogue last weekend, it was agreed to support reconciliation, development and connectivity, security and counter-terrorism as the areas of the trilateral cooperation.
Pakistan and Afghanistan, in particular, were working to improve bilateral relations through the recently agreed Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, he added.