BRUSSELS: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called on the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan and discussing efforts for long term peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The Adviser reiterated Pakistan’s earnest desire for lasting peace in Afghanistan which was important for stability and progress in Pakistan, and emphasised the need of continued engagement and support of international community for sustainable economic development and growth in Afghanistan.
Afghan President thanked Pakistan’s pledge of further $500 million economic assistance to Afghanistan at the Brussels Conference which demonstrated Pakistan’s solidarity and support for the people of Afghanistan.
He suggested that the two governments should work together to identify the projects in consultation with Afghan government according to its development priorities.
President Ghani also appreciated the announcement of a second tranche of 3,000 scholarships for Afghan students in Pakistani universities which would greatly help institution building in Afghanistan.
They also discussed efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and emphasised that lasting peace and stability could be achieved through a politically negotiated settlement,
Aziz commended Afghan government for concluding a peace deal with Hizb-i-Islami. He expressed hope and optimism that this could lead to similar peace arrangements with other insurgents.
He recalled Pakistan’s serious efforts for facilitating peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban, and conveyed that Pakistan will continue to make these efforts through the framework of the Quadrilateral Consultative Group (QCG).
Ghani expressed concern that Taliban’s continued refusal to join the peace process has led to violence, killings and suffering in Afghanistan.