Pakistan, Iran agree to continue consultations over evolving Afghanistan situation

Pakistan attaches great value to its ties with Iran

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Islamabad: Pakistan and Iran have agreed to continue consultations in the wake of evolving situation in Afghanistan.

The understanding to this effect was reached during a telephonic conversation between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Ameer Abdollahian.

The two sides exchanged views in detail about latest developments in Afghanistan.

The two Foreign Ministers also agreed on holding a virtual conference of Afghanistan’s neighbours at the level of representatives in the upcoming days.

Speaking on the occasion, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan attaches special significance to its relations with brotherly country Iran.

In his remarks, the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Ameer Abdollahian lauded Foreign Minister Qureshi’s concerted efforts to evolve a coordinated strategy in the backdrop of situation in Afghanistan.

He also thanked Shah Mahmood Qureshi for visiting Iran.

In addition, Pakistan hosted virtual meeting of Special Representatives/Envoys of neighbours of Afghanistan. Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, chaired the session. China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated.

During the meeting, views were exchanged on the latest situation in Afghanistan. Ambassador Sadiq, welcoming his counterparts, highlighted the importance of evolving a regional approach to address common challenges and to realize the new opportunities arising from a stable Afghanistan. He added that a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan would provide impetus to economic integration, strong people-to-people linkages, enhanced trade, and regional connectivity.

The Special Representatives/Envoys of neighbours of Afghanistan agreed to remain in close contact.

Earlier, speaking at a joint news conference with Maas, Qureshi stressed the need for the international community to stay engaged with Afghanistan. “This is a pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history. The international community must remain engaged. Humanitarian assistance must flow. Do not let the economic collapse in Afghanistan take place,” he stressed.

The foreign minister went on to say that “abandonment is not an option” emphasizing that the world had already seen the fallout of leaving Afghanistan alone after the Soviet withdrawal in the 1990s.

Pakistan’s concerns stem from the fact that disengagement with Afghanistan may once again create a security vacuum that will likely undermine regional and international security.

The foreign minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on the evolving situation in Afghanistan. He stated that for Pakistan, an immediate neighbor that suffered for 40 years from conflict and instability next door, a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was of vital importance. The foreign minister underlined that safety and security of Afghans and an inclusive political settlement would be important in this regard.

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