Senior UK diplomat welcomes progress in quadrilateral talks
KABUL (Pajhwok): Britain’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Simon Gass, reiterating the UK’s support for an Afghan-led peace process, welcomed the progress made in the quadrilateral talks and stressed the importance of maintaining momentum.
A statement from the British Embassy in Kabul said the UK Foreign Office’s Political Director, Sir Simon Gass, visited Kabul from Monday to Tuesday to reaffirm the UK’s enduring commitment to Afghanistan and support for the national unity Government.
Sir Simon, who worked in Afghanistan as NATO’s civilian representative from 2011-2012, expressed strong support for the unity government's commitment to securing an enduring peace.
He also sought an update from the government of Afghanistan on progress in delivering its reform commitments ahead of NATO Warsaw Summit and Brussels Development Conference later this year.
During his visit, the political director had meetings with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and former acting defence minister Stanekzai and National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar.
They discussed a broad range of issues including the security and economic situation in Afghanistan, the British Embassy said in its statement.
During all his meetings, Simon reiterated the UK’s support for an Afghan-led peace process and welcomed the progress made in the quadrilateral talks and stressed the importance of maintaining momentum.
He also discussed the Afghan government’s reform agenda, which he said was vital to ensure a more prosperous future for Afghanistan.
Gass welcomed, in particular President Ghani’s efforts, to tackle corruption and underlined the importance of continued progress in this crucial area for investment and economic growth.
The special envoy also raised the UK’s concerns about migration and welcomed the government of Afghanistan’s commitment to meeting its international obligations on migration.
He stressed that Afghan migrants found not to be in need of international protection would have to return to Afghanistan.
“I am delighted to be back in Afghanistan. I came here at the Foreign Secretary’s request because two major international conferences concerning Afghanistan are taking place this year,” Gass said about his Afghanistan visit.
The NATO Summit and Brussels conference will reaffirm the international community’s commitment and determine the future size and shape of international support to Afghanistan.
“I discussed with Afghanistan’s leaders the progress they’ve made since the London Conference on Afghanistan, the challenges ahead and how the UK can provide further support.”
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