Aziz to make pitch for early return to negotiating table
Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, who is due to visit Kabul on Friday to attend a regional moot, will urge his hosts to resume the talks.
The Express Tribune reported Aziz would meet Afghan leaders on the sidelines of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) to discuss the recent hiccup in bilateral relations.
“Pakistan will persuade Afghanistan to resume peace talks with the Taliban instead of getting bogged down in a blame game,” the newspaper reported.
A military official told the daily relations between the two countries would be back on track soon, calling the current impasse a pause. Aziz will convey Pakistan’s willingness to work with Afghanistan to fight terrorism.
Afghan officials claim a wave of recent attacks in Kabul, which killed many people including civilians, were planned in Pakistan with the support of its powerful intelligence service.
They say the biggest bone of contention between Afghanistan and Pakistan is the presence of terrorist groups, particularly the Haqqani network, in the neighbouring country.
Enraged by the allegations, Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif refused to meet a high-powered Afghan delegation that visited Islamabad last month.
In the build-up to the event, President Ashraf Ghani said: “We want to revitalise the Silk Road and turn Afghanistan into a regional hub for connecting Central Asia to South Asia.”
Participants will review progress made since RECCA-I, including in areas of trade and transport, energy, minerals extraction, private investments, vocational training and disaster preparedness.
The RECCA process was set in motion in 2005 and five meetings have been held so far in Kabul, New Delhi, Islamabad, Istanbul and Dushanbe.
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