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ISLAMABAD, Nov 24 (APP): Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday said renewed international focus on peace in Afghanistan through Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political negotiations was a historic opportunity and stressed upon Afghan people that they should seize to build enduring peace, progress and prosperity in their country.

The foreign minister was leading Pakistan’s delegation at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, co-hosted by Finland, Afghanistan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and held virtually from Geneva, Switzerland.

The 2020 Afghanistan Conference titled, “Peace, Prosperity and Self-reliance” is the quadrennial pledging conference to support the promotion of sustainable development, prosperity and peace in Afghanistan, Foreign Office spokesperson said in a press release.

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Besides Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, foreign ministers of Switzerland, Finland, Russia, Iran, the United States secretary of state, the European Union high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and Chinese special envoy on Afghanistan led their respective delegations at the conference.

The foreign minister termed Pakistan as a major stakeholder and the largest beneficiary of peace in Afghanistan and apprised the international community about Pakistan’s constructive contribution to the ongoing Afghan peace process.

Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s contribution to help Afghanistan attain self-reliance and referred to Pakistan’s development assistance of US$1 billion for Afghanistan and a number of projects in health, education and road infrastructure sectors being undertaken in the country.

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He recalled Pakistan’s investment in capacity building of Afghan people and mentioned 6,000 fully funded scholarships being provided to Afghan students in leading Pakistani universities. Additionally, training was being provided to Afghan officials and professionals in various fields.

The foreign minister reiterated support for Afghanistan’s endeavours for regional connectivity.

“Pakistan is at the heart of major regional connectivity initiatives involving Afghanistan, like the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, CASA 1000, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) electricity transmission project, etc,” the press release further quoted him as saying.