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Afghanistan, Pakistan officials discuss strengthening bilateral

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KABUL: Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmmod Qureshi on the sidelines of the OIC council of Foreign Minster’s meeting, and both sides exchanged views on Afghan peace process and measure to further strengthening Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral relations.

“Had an important meeting with Qureshi and the delegation on the sideline of the OIC in Niamey focusing on the next steps in peace, security, refugee return, regional connectivity and economic cooperation following the successful Kabul visit of Honourable Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khand,” Atmar said.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi extended condolences to his Afghan counterpart over recent terrorist attacks in Kabul and Bamiyan and reiterated Pakistan’s condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations, Pakistan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Both sides also stressed the importance of reduction in violence leading to ceasefire to save lives and advance peace efforts.

Referring to the recent successful visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Kabul, Qureshi conveyed that Pakistan remained committed to deepening bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

Qureshi assured Atmar that Pakistan will continue to facilitate the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. Noting the recent progress in Intra-Afghan negotiations, he also emphasised the need to remain vigilant about the role of ‘spoilers’ who did not wish to see return of peace in the region.

Qureshi stressed that peace negotiations represented a historic opportunity, which must be seized by the Afghan leadership to establish enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

Appreciating Pakistan’s sincere efforts in support of the Afghan peace process, Mr. Atmar expressed gratitude for the Prime Minister’s visit to Kabul and its important outcomes. He also thanked Foreign Minister Qureshi for his participation in the Geneva Conference and reaffirmation of Pakistan’s support for reconstruction and economic development of Afghanistan.

While reaffirming resolve to closely follow-up on the Prime Minister’s visit to Kabul, the two Foreign Ministers agreed to pursue cooperation in relevant fields under the agreed mechanism of APAPPS.

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