Pakistan ready to facilitate Afghan peace talks: Sartaj

NEW YORK – Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan was essential for Pakistan’s own security.
He said Pakistan was ready to facilitate peace talks, if the Afghan Government so desired.
While attending a high level event on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Sartaj reiterated Pakistan’s solidarity with Afghan people and expressed hope that the Afghan peace process would be resumed soon, as this was an important pre-requisite for peace and stability in the country.
Sartaj said that Pakistan’s efforts to persuade the Afghan Taliban to participate in peace talks should not, however, be interpreted as indirect endorsement of the current surge of violence in Afghanistan.
The high-level event “Afghanistan’s Peaceful Reconstruction and Regional Cooperation” co-hosted by Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and United States Secretary of State John Kerry was held on Saturday.
Participants of the event included, among others, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yilmaz and the foreign ministers of Australia, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
A number of delegations reiterated their pledge for long-term support for Afghanistan. They emphasised that “great games” of the past should be converted into the “great gains” for the future of Afghanistan.
It was underscored that the interest of Afghan people, who had suffered enormously in the past, should be held above everything. In this regard, the Afghan Government and the Taliban were encouraged to compromise and meet at “half way” for their country’s peace and stability.
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia agree to boost defence ties: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to take their relationship to new heights, particularly in the field of defense cooperation, trade and law enforcement. The understanding came when Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir had a meeting with Adviser Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York.
The two leaders reviewed the existing multifaceted bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. They discussed regional and global situation, with particular focus on Yemen and Afghanistan. They agreed to enhance cooperation to counter the threats posed by terrorists and extremists.
Sartaj briefed his Saudi counterpart on Pakistan-India relations and worsening situation on the Line of Control and Working Boundary. He expressed condolences on tragic accidents during this year’s haj that resulted in loss of precious lives. Foreign Minister Al Jubeir also briefed the Adviser on steps taken by the Saudi Government to prevent the recurrence of such accidents.

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