Exchange of visits to help boost bilateral trust: Asfandyar
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan hopes Chief of army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif’s recent meetings with Afghan leaders will help build trust between the neighbours.
During his daylong flying trip to Kabul on Sunday, the army chief met President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and his Afghan counterpart on the resumption of the Afghan-led reconciliation process.
Asfandyar hoped the discussions -- part of a renewed diplomatic push to put the peace talks back on track -- would bring the two countries together. Such meetings would help increase confidence between the neighbours.
Contacts between leaders of the two countries would help end the conflict in the region, he said in a statement, which added bilateral talks were needed to fight against the scourge of extremism.
At the meetings in Kabul, Afghanistan and Pakistan agree on a new framework for talks with reconcilable insurgents. The two sides also vowed to take joint action against the militants refusing to return to the negotiating table.
For their part, the Afghan Taliban say they are ready for talks but are in no hurry to return to negotiating table, given differences within the Ghani administration on the political process.
A meeting in the first week of January is expected in the recently-established ‘quadrilateral framework’ that also involves China and the United States. The venue and the level of representation will be decided by the four countries.
“The first round of the quadrilateral meeting will be scheduled in January to work out a clear and comprehensive roadmap for a meaningful peace process,” Pakistan’s military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said.
Asfandyar Wali also hailed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stopover in Lahore as a positive step toward peace in the region, benefitting millions of people of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.
The ANP chief said the regional countries should focus on peace and utilise their resources to lift their peoples out of poverty.
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