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Pakistan hopes Taliban will grab peace talks opportunity with Afghan govt

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal on Thursday Pakistan was committed to peace and security in Afghanistan and fully supported Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s peace initiatives.

“There is no military solution to decades’ long Afghan conflict and Pakistan hopes that Taliban would grab opportunity of unconditional peace talks with the Afghan government,” he said while speaking at a weekly briefing in Islamabad.

He said United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ambassador Alice G Wells had a useful visit to Pakistan from first to third of this month in which detailed discussions and meetings were held.

During a meeting at Foreign Office, the two sides discussed the bilateral foreign relations as well as regional situation especially Afghanistan, he added.

Dr Faisal said Pakistan and US delegates shared the recent developments in the wake of ceasefire on Eid-ul-Fitr and President Ghani’s offer of unconditional peace talks with Taliban.

The foreign secretary reiterated Pakistan’s support to peace and reconciliation efforts of Afghanistan as well as other stakeholders.

Read More: Pakistan to continue cooperation for peace in Afghanistan: Mamnoon Hussain

Dr Faisal said US had appreciated the engagement between Pakistan and Afghanistan particularly in the context of operationalization of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity.

He also raised issues of concern particularly border management, return of Afghan refugees and presence of anti-Pakistan sanctuaries on other side of the border.

The spokesperson strongly condemned terrorist attack in Jalalabad city of Afghanistan killing and injuring many innocent civilians. He said Pakistan condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Turning to Pak-Russia ties, the FO spokesperson said relations between both the countries were advancing in various fields, including security and defense. He said Pakistan will participate in joint military anti-terrorist command and staff exercise under SCO dubbed peace mission 2018 in Ural mountains, Russia this year.

Dr Faisal said the first joint military exercise was held in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa in September 2016 followed by the second in Russia in October 2017. He said the two countries are likely to continue the military exercises in future as well.

Foreign Office spokesperson said a briefing for Islamabad-based Heads of Mission was recently held regarding the recent Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Kashmir.

The Foreign Minister Abdullah Hussain Haroon told the participants that  it is time for the international community to move beyond political and economic expediencies and fulfill its promises to the Kashmiri people, as per United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Dr. Faisal said the Indian occupation forces continue to kill innocent defenseless Kashmiris with impunity and in last month alone, they martyred thirty – three Kashmiris and injured at least 236.

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