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ISLAMABAD: The European Union’s Special Envoy (Acting) for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, underlined the EU’s commitment to the Afghan peace process and continued engagement with regional partners as he concluded his first official visit to Pakistan, on Thursday.

“The situation in Afghanistan will have a lasting impact on regional peace and security. My meetings reaffirmed the position of both the EU and Pakistan, that only a political settlement through inclusive dialogue, offers hope for durable peace. On several occasions, the EU and Pakistan have called on all parties to strive towards the elimination of violence as a genuine commitment to peace and reconciliation,” the EU special acting envoy was quoted in statement issued here by Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, who also praised Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace and stability.

He said that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process, which should protect and strengthen progress on human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, with special relevance to women and girls, laying the foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan.

During the three-day visit, Special Envoy Niklasson held meetings with both civil and military leadership including Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq, Director General (Iran/Afghanistan/Turkey), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asif Memon, Chief of General Staff Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, and Deputy Director General ISI General Tabassum Habib.

“During the meetings, the EU and Pakistan reiterated their strong support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and the need for all stakeholders to work towards achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” the statement added.

It further stated that the continuation of conflict would further exacerbate the already significant security challenges in the region, while peace and a continued socioeconomic development in Afghanistan would considerably increase the potential of regional integration and connectivity.

The special envoy also met with several ambassadors to Pakistan, including from the European Union member states, members of think tanks, and local and international journalists during his visit, it added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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