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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, on Thursday, expressed concern over the high incidence of violence in Afghanistan, and urged all the sides to work for immediate reduction in violence, leading to ceasefire.

The latest call comes following a meeting of the visiting UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy on Afghanistan and Regional Issues Jean Arnault with Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, who met him here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, views were exchanged on latest developments in the Afghan peace process and the way forward.

The foreign secretary briefed Arnault on Pakistan’s consistent policy of support to the Afghan peace process, forging closer Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relationship, and facilitating economic integration and regional connectivity.

Reiterating Pakistan’s long-held view that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, the foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong desire for a peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan, which was the only way forward.

He also underlined that securing a negotiated political settlement would require sustained and constructive engagement as well as flexibility by the Afghan leaders.

Mahmood expressed concern over the high incidence of violence in Afghanistan and stressed that all sides must work for immediate reduction in violence, leading to ceasefire.

In the context of regional mechanisms, he emphasised that the “Troika Plus” format brought together all major stakeholders to help promote meaningful progress in the Afghan peace process.

The foreign secretary also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to safe and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland under a time-bound and well-resourced road-map supported by the international community.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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