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October 4, 2018
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Qureshi urges Afghan Taliban to seize opportunity for talks

Top Story

October 4, 2018

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WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met with US officials to discuss ways to move ahead on a range of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest, where both sides also reminded the Afghan Taliban "to avail the opportunity for a political settlement by seizing the opportunity for dialogue." The foreign minister had a 20-minute meeting with the Secretary at the Department of State Mike Pompeo Tuesday afternoon. They discussed the importance of the two countries working together to advance joint priorities, recognising that bilateral cooperation was mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in South Asia.

"Secretary Pompeo underscored a common goal to advance peace and security in the broader region. In particular, Secretary Pompeo emphasised the important role Pakistan could play in brining about a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. The secretary agreed that there was a momentum to advance the Afghan peace process, and that the Afghan Taliban should seize the opportunity for dialogue," said the department's spokesperson Heather Nauert in a read out issued later. Both leaders agreed to remain engaged on these and other issues, and reiterated their desire to maintain constructive dialogue to advance shared interests.

Shah Mehmood, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, stressed that "peace in South Asia, which was a common goal of both the United States and Pakistan, would remain elusive until all disputes, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, are resolved." He said that close engagement between Pakistan and the United States had always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in South Asia.

The foreign minister reiterated Pakistan's support for a political settlement in Afghanistan, noting that the use of force had failed to deliver results, the statement said, adding that Secretary Pompeo appreciated Pakistan's support for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and its efforts for peace in the neighbourhood.

Earlier in the day, the foreign minister also met with US National Security Adviser John Bolton at the White House. In a separate statement by the Foreign Office, the minister reiterated Pakistan's long held position that there was no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan. He stated that Pakistan would continue to support the efforts for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Welcoming the renewed US focus on achieving a political resolution in Afghanistan, the minister underscored that Pakistan regarded peace and stability in Afghanistan as vital for its own long-term stability and progress, the statement said.

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