By: Lailuma Noori
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi in a phone conversation with Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar has said his country supports Istanbul peace meeting set to be held on 24 April.
In a tweet, Qureshi has written that he spoke to Afghanistan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar on bilateral relations and evolving Afghan Peace Process.
“We support reconciliation in Afghanistan and progress in peace process, in Istanbul. I look forward to meeting FM Atmar at Istanbul Conference and to hosting him in Pakistan soon after to discuss a way forward post conference,” Qureshi tweeted.
The Pakistan’s foreign minister hoped that the “Istanbul Process” would help make the Doha Agreement successful in its efforts to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan.
In the phone conversation, Afghanistan minister of foreign affairs appreciated Pakistan’s continued diplomatic, political and moral support in making the Afghan peace process fruitful, thanking Foreign Minister Qureshi and the Pakistani leadership. Both the foreign ministers agreed to meet in Istanbul.
Pakistan still has influence on Taliban; therefore, the country can convince Taliban to cut its ties with al Qaeda and prevent from killing innocent civilians and violence in Afghanistan. Like other regional and world countries, Pakistan can fulfill its historic responsibility and play key role in Afghanistan peace process as peace brings stability to the region. In absence of peace and stability, the region will face with lots of challenges.
In the meantime, the era for using tools such as ‘terrorism’ to reach goals should end as it is not acceptable for any countries in the region and those countries pursuing such policy will be undoubtedly isolated. The current peace process is for ending the continued war in Afghanistan and the base of ending the war is ceasefire.
Taliban has repeatedly rejected ceasefire, while ceasefire can help end the continued war through negotiation.
This comes after Taliban said it would not attend any peace meetings until full US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. On the other hand, Afghanistan government has declared it is ready to participate in Istanbul Conference.
Based on the US – Taliban deal signed on 29 Feb last year, 1 May was set for full US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, but US has announced that the troop withdrawal process will be completed by 11 September.
It is worth mentioning that Istanbul Conference on Afghanistan peace is going to be held on 24 April. It is not confirmed whether the Taliban will attend the conference, but the group has said that it will not attend any peace conferences until the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.