By: The Kabul Times
The Turkish foreign minister on Friday said peace efforts and support for “Afghan brothers and sisters” will continue robustly in the coming period.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Istanbul following trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mevlut Cavusoglu underlined that both Afghanistan and Pakistan are brotherly nations for Turkey.
He emphasized that Turkey has strong bonds of history with the two countries, and thanked them for supporting Turkey in its fight against terrorism.
Cavusoglu said they had a chance to discuss opportunities for the establishment of peace, stability and security in the region, and the welfare of the nations in the trilateral meeting of foreign ministers, and stressed that especially the Afghanistan peace process was on the main agenda.
Referring to the Afghan peace process, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the only solution in Afghanistan is a negotiated political solution.
Noting that the meeting was held at a critical time, Qureshi said that they would like to hold this meeting not only at the level of foreign ministers but also at the level of heads of state.
It is a very important opportunity, he said, and stressed that it is a period in which Afghans should be extremely open-minded and flexible.
Qureshi said that everyone, especially Afghanistan, will suffer if this opportunity is not seized now.
– ‘Desire to move forward’
Noting that all three parties have agreed on a joint statement, Qureshi said: “This joint statement is an indicator of our desire to move forward,” and thanked Cavusoglu for giving this opportunity.
He went on to say that the political solution can be discussed through dialogue between all parties.
“Had an excellent trilateral meeting today with @MevlutCavusoglu and @MHaneefAtmar. This meeting comes at a very important time, as the Afghan Peace Process enters a critical phase and our meeting reflects our collective desire for the process to have a sustainable outcome,” Qureshi wrote on Twitter following the meeting.
Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar, who attended the meeting online due to health reasons, said that Afghanistan is committed to peace process, and its desire to hold a meeting involving all stakeholders remains intact.
Atmar said he had a good opportunity to discuss with Pakistan and Turkey about areas of cooperation and establishment of security.
He also thanked Turkey for its readiness to host a peace conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul.
He noted that the three countries agreed to call on the Taliban to stop the violence, observe a cease-fire and participate in the Istanbul conference.
On Tuesday, Turkey announced the postponement of the much-anticipated peace conference until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Taliban declined to attend the peace conference in Turkey, demanding withdrawal of all foreign troops by May in line with the Doha Agreement with the US.
The meeting was scheduled on April 24-May 4 to fast-track an agreement between the Taliban and Kabul amid the announcement by Washington that foreign troops would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11.