WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan formed a new diplomatic platform to support peace and stability in Afghanistan and foster regional trade and business ties, the State Department said Friday as U.S. troops continue their planned withdrawal from the country.
"The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing," it said in a statement. The parties agreed to meet in coming months.—Reuters
Reporter from Islamabad adds: Pakistan, together with United States, Uzbekistan, and Afghan-istan, on Friday, announced “Quad Regional Support for Afghanistan-Peace Process and Post Settlement”.
“Representatives of the United States, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity,” said a statement issued here by the Foreign Office.
The statement added that the parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agreed that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing.
“Recognizing the historic opportunity to open flourishing international trade routes, the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links and strengthen business-to-business ties. The parties agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus,” it added.
This development comes following interaction of the representatives of the concerned countries in Uzbekistan, where Prime Minister Imran Khan along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is leading Pakistan’s delegation to the international conference on "South Asia-Central Asia Regional Connectivity-Challenges and Opportunities” in Tashkent.
In a separate statement, the Foreign Office said that Foreign Minister Qureshi met with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on the sidelines of the international conference in Tashkent. Talking to the top US diplomat, Qureshi said that Pakistan will continue to play its reconciliatory role for peace in Afghanistan.
The foreign minister said that Afghans have to decide the future of Afghanistan.
Qureshi further said that Pakistan considers peace in Afghanistan essential for promotion of regional linkages and economic development in the region.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021