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Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured USA of Pakistan help for peace in Afghanistan

05 December, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday assured United States visiting Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad of Pakistan’s help for peace in Afghanistan a day after President Donald Trump sought Pakistan support in reconciliation with the Taliban.

Khalilzad, who arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday morning on two-day visit, met Qureshi at the Foreign Ministry and discussed cooperation to promote political solution to the Afghan conflict.

“It was a pleasure meeting Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad third time since his appointment. Pakistan will continue to cooperate with sincerity for political settlement in Afghanistan. Long lasting Peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s best interest,” Qureshi wrote on Twitter.

Khalilzad started Pakistan’s visit a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he had received a letter from US President Donald Trump, in which he has sought Pakistan’s support in negotiated settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said Khalilzad “reiterated President Trump’s desire to seek Pakistan’s cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

“The foreign minister assured the US side of Pakistan’s steadfast support for a negotiated settlement,” the spokesman said on Twitter. He said the US envoy also held a meeting with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and discussed peace and political settlement in Afghanistan.

Officials from diplomatic, security and defence from both sides were present at the meeting, he added.

Some sources say the US envoy is likely to hold more meetings in Islamabad today.

The Afghan government had cautiously welcomed President Trump’s letter to the Pakistani prime minister and said it would welcome every step for peace in Afghanistan. Shah Hussain Mortazavi, deputy presidential spokesman told the BBC Pashto radio that Kabul expects other countries “play positive role in bringing peace to Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, a four-member delegation of Taliban political representatives has also arrived in Pakistan following their meetings with the American officials in Qatar, where the Taliban have political office.

Taliban sources confirmed the visit to Daily Times but insisted the visit did not have any relation with the visit of the US envoy to Pakistan or any peace talks.

The Taliban delegation is comprised Maulvi Shahab ud Din Dilawar, Salam Hanafi, Zia-ur-Rehman Madani and Suhail Shaheen. The State Department had earlier said Khalilzad would be travelling to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, United Arab

Emirates and Qatar with an interagency delegation from December 2-20.

Khalilzad held three-day talks with the Taliban political representatives in Qatar last month and more discussions are expected during his current trip Qatar.

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