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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Qatar, on Thursday, urged the international community not to attach any conditionality in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and called for releasing Afghanistan's assets, frozen by the United States and the aid halted by international monetary organisations.

This was announced during joint press stakeout by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani after their bilateral talks here at the Foreign Office.

The Qatari foreign minister said that he had an "excellent" exchange of views with Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier in the day and also with Foreign Minister Qureshi during the bilateral talks.

He thanked Pakistan for all the steps taken for supporting and advancing the Afghan peace process as well as supporting and facilitating Qatar's mediation as well as the recent developments in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan situation: Qureshi urges international community to stay magnanimous

He said that Pakistan has played a leadership role in helping the Afghan people, adding that it was reflecting the common vison both Pakistan and Qatar are sharing together on having a stable and peaceful Afghanistan in the future.

On humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, he said that humanitarian assistance should be independent of any political progress, because we believe that the Afghan people deserve to be supported irrespective of what is happening on the political landscape.

He said that the Kabul airport has been operationalised for humanitarian flights and thanked Taliban for their cooperation in operationalising the airport for passenger flights.

"This is what we are expecting from the Taliban to see these positive statements and steps," he said, adding that it shows that Afghanistan has a free passage for people to go in and out of the country.

"This is a positive step and we support it. Of course, we know that there are a lot to come and we encourage Taliban to be more inclusive by bringing all Afghans under one umbrella. We want to see a united, a strong and a prosperous Afghanistan," he said.

About the international community response to the situation, he referred to his recent engagements in Iran and his plans to visit Turkey and Russia, saying: "We encourage everyone to be supportive of a peaceful transition in Afghanistan, to continue helping the Afghan people and to have a common vision for dealing the situations."

He pointed out that the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan are the most-affected countries of the situation in Afghanistan.

US general says most of those evacuated from Afghanistan to Qatar are now in Europe, US

"We are also expressing our support for the neighbouring countries and we don't want to see any impact of any deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan...We need to help the Afghan people instead of waiting for any crisis to erupt," he emphasised.

On bilateral relations, he said that Pakistan is Qatar's strategic partner, adding that his country considers this partnership as multi-dimensional in its nature and not only in the political area, but also trade and economy, and defence.

He said that the bilateral relations are brotherly and strong, adding that the two leaderships are sharing the same vision in upgrading this relationship to more solid and stronger bonds between the two countries.

"Of course, we appreciate the role that has been played by Pakistani brothers and sisters in development of Qatar and we are looking forward to continue this cooperation and to welcome more Pakistanis to contribute in the development of Qatar," he added.

In his remarks, Qureshi said that Pakistan and Qatar have agreed to continue playing a constructive role to avoid any humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

He said that the two countries have a common vision which is peace, stability, and prosperity in Afghanistan.

He said the world community should come forward to extend financial and humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, which is the number one priority.

Qureshi agreed with his Qatari counterpart to call on the international community that there should be no conditionalities attached to providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

He said that there should be no political conditionality attached to the humanitarian assistance.

Qureshi also urged the international community not to take steps that would lead to economic collapse of Afghanistan.

"That would not help anyone. It will not certainly help the Afghan people and it will also not help the region," he said, adding that Afghan assets should be released.

He said that the two sides agreed that there is a need to protect the interest, their safety and security of the people of Afghanistan.

He said that the two sides also agreed to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a ground for proxy wars.

"We have to remain cognisant of the spoilers - those within and beyond Afghanistan. We have to collectively ensure that their designs scuttle and they do not achieve what they want to create, internal chaos," he underscored.

He said spoilers should not be given an opportunity to play with the global efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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