Deploring violence, we called on Taliban for immediate ceasefire and return to negotiation: FM Atmar

AT News

KABUL: Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan called on the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment to achieving a negotiated settlement for lasting peace in Afghanistan, the foreign ministers of the three countries said in a joint statement issued after talks in Istanbul.

A US-backed Afghan peace conference in Istanbul hosted by Turkey, Qatar and the United Nations scheduled for Saturday was postponed due to the Taliban’s non-participation. No new date has been set for those talks, but Ankara has said they would take place after the holy month of Ramazan.

After talks in Istanbul, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar, and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shan Mahmood Qureshi deplored the continuing high level of violence in Afghanistan, and emphasized the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire to end the violence and provide a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks.

Afghan FM Atmar said he had successfully concluded a Trilateral Meeting in Istanbul, expressed gratitude to Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Pakistan for supporting a peaceful, sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan. “Deploring violence, we called on Taliban for immediate ceasefire and return to negotiation.”

“Regretfully I tested positive for Covid-19 and had to attend the T/L Meeting virtually. Immensely grateful to H.E Mevlut Cavusoglu and my hosts for providing all the medical treatment and care while also ensuring successful convening of our much anticipated trilateral meeting,” Mr. Atmar tweeted.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, describing Pakistan-Afghanistan-Turkey trilateral meeting as useful, said a negotiated political solution of the Afghan issue was the only way forward. “It is a unique opportunity for Afghans to show farsightedness. If they suffer, everybody will suffer. It is important that Afghans sit together and find a way forward,” he said while addressing a joint press conference along with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavusoglu.

The foreign minister said as there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict, Pakistan has urged and will continue to urge all the Afghan parties to sit together and find a way forward. “We as brothers can only facilitate,” he remarked.

He said that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan, which has suffered the most due to war in Afghanistan than any other country in the world.

During the trilateral meeting, the three foreign ministers discussed the latest developments in Afghan peace process, exchanged views on achieving the shared objectives of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process. Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s valuable efforts towards this end.