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Pakistan says consultations for Afghan peace talks begin in days

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  ISLAMABAD, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- A"process of consultations will begin in the coming days" to discuss strategy for the resumption of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, said officials and diplomatic sources late Friday night.

  The news came after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken at a quadrilateral meeting in Islamabad "agreed to work together to create conducive atmosphere that encourages Taliban groups to engage in meaningful and sustained negotiations."

  Sources said that senior officials dealing with Afghanistan would shortly gather in Islamabad to hold follow up discussions to chalk out strategy for the Afghan peace process.

  Pakistan Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the parliament that it would be premature and difficult to say when the revival of the peace process will take place.

  "But at least in the coming days, a process of consultations will begin and we hope that because there is (relative) lull in fighting there and so it is an opportune time (Afghanistan) that if the peace talks begin they may lead to good results," he said in a comprehensive statement in the National Assembly on the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia- Istanbul Process on Dec. 9.

  The first round of the Pakistan-brokered Afghan talks was held in early July at the scenic town of Murree and the second round was cancelled after the Afghan spy agency revealed the death of the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar.

  Sartaj Aziz said that all four countries involved in this process, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and the United States, have also agreed to work out a mechanism to resume the reconciliation process on priority basis.

  He disclosed that it has been proposed to constitute a Joint Steering Committee to oversee the process to explore options and push the peace process forward.

  "Reconciliation through a politically negotiated settlement is the only viable option for promoting long-term peace in Afghanistan," the Foreign Affairs adviser said.

  He expressed Pakistan's full support to enable an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process that promotes the dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

  "President Ashraf Ghani recognized Pakistan's important role for peace in Afghanistan and emphasized the need for closer bilateral and regional collaboration to address the security and terrorism challenges being faced by Afghanistan,"said Aziz.

  In Kabul, President Ghani also said on Friday that the peace talks could start in weeks and that the process would produce results.

  He said Pakistan has agreed with Afghanistan's suggestion to take action against those Taliban who refuse to join the peace process.

  Related News

  Xinhuanet

  Pakistan says consultations for Afghan peace talks begin in days

  English.news.cn 2015-12-12 03:24:39

  ISLAMABAD, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- A"process of consultations will begin in the coming days" to discuss strategy for the resumption of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, said officials and diplomatic sources late Friday night.

  The news came after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken at a quadrilateral meeting in Islamabad "agreed to work together to create conducive atmosphere that encourages Taliban groups to engage in meaningful and sustained negotiations."

  Sources said that senior officials dealing with Afghanistan would shortly gather in Islamabad to hold follow up discussions to chalk out strategy for the Afghan peace process.

  Pakistan Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the parliament that it would be premature and difficult to say when the revival of the peace process will take place.

  "But at least in the coming days, a process of consultations will begin and we hope that because there is (relative) lull in fighting there and so it is an opportune time (Afghanistan) that if the peace talks begin they may lead to good results," he said in a comprehensive statement in the National Assembly on the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia- Istanbul Process on Dec. 9.

  The first round of the Pakistan-brokered Afghan talks was held in early July at the scenic town of Murree and the second round was cancelled after the Afghan spy agency revealed the death of the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar.

  Sartaj Aziz said that all four countries involved in this process, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and the United States, have also agreed to work out a mechanism to resume the reconciliation process on priority basis.

  He disclosed that it has been proposed to constitute a Joint Steering Committee to oversee the process to explore options and push the peace process forward.

  "Reconciliation through a politically negotiated settlement is the only viable option for promoting long-term peace in Afghanistan," the Foreign Affairs adviser said.

  He expressed Pakistan's full support to enable an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process that promotes the dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

  "President Ashraf Ghani recognized Pakistan's important role for peace in Afghanistan and emphasized the need for closer bilateral and regional collaboration to address the security and terrorism challenges being faced by Afghanistan,"said Aziz.

  In Kabul, President Ghani also said on Friday that the peace talks could start in weeks and that the process would produce results.

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