Gulf News

Progress seen as Im­ran meets Khalilzad

PRE­MIER TELLS US EN­VOY IS­LAM­ABAD IS COM­MIT­TED TO PEACE IN AFGHANISTA­N

- BY SANA JA­MAL Cor­re­spon­dent

Pak­istan’s Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan in his meet­ing with a US spe­cial en­voy yes­ter­day said that peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in neigh­bour­ing Afghanista­n is in Pak­istan’s best in­ter­est.

The Pak­istani pre­mier met US Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Afghanista­n Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Zal­may Khalilzad, who ar­rived in the coun­try within a day of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s let­ter to Khan seek­ing Pak­istan’s as­sis­tance to per­suade the Afghan Tal­iban to join the Afghan peace process.

Set­tle­ment

The US spe­cial en­voy also held meet­ings with For­eign Min­is­ter Shah Mehmood Qureshi, For­eign Sec­re­tary Tehmina Jan­jua and other of­fi­cials dur­ing his two-day visit to dis­cuss a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment of the Afghan con­flict.

Sources told Gulf News that the fact that Khalilzad was re­ceived by Khan be­fore leav­ing Pak­istan in­di­cated some progress. How­ever, it is not yet clear if the four-mem­ber Tal­iban del­e­ga­tion from the Qatar of­fice had en­dorsed the for­mula be­ing floated by both sides for a durable and agree­able set­tle­ment of the Afghan con­flict.

Wash­ing­ton urges Is­lam­abad to play a key role in fa­cil­i­tat­ing talks be­tween the Afghanista­n govern­ment and the Tal­iban. How­ever, Pak­istan has of­ten clar­i­fied its lim­ited in­flu­ence over the lat­ter.

Pak­istan be­lieves that rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is the only so­lu­tion to­wards peace, Khan said in his meet­ing with the US spe­cial en­voy. Re­call­ing his long per­sonal com­mit­ment to the cause of peace in the re­gion, the pre­mier wel­comed Trump’s let­ter and the US as­sur­ance to work with Pak­istan on the shared ob­jec­tive. He also em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of di­a­logue on both sides along with co­op­er­a­tion in the fields of trade, in­vest­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and health.

The vis­it­ing US of­fi­cial, tasked with find­ing an end to Afghanista­n’s 17-year-old war, held de­tailed meet­ings with Pak­istani For­eign Of­fice of­fi­cials on the Afghan rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process.

Qureshi as­sured the US di­plo­mat of Pak­istan’s sup­port for a peace­ful set­tle­ment in a meet­ing on Tues­day.

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