Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan urge Taliban to commit to peace talks
ISTANBUL- Anadolu Agency
Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan on April 23 called on the Taliban to reaffirm its commitment to "achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan."
This came in a joint statement issued following the meeting between the foreign ministers of three countries.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Afghanistan's Mohammad Haneef Atmar reiterated their commitment to support a peaceful, sovereign, independent, democratic and united Afghanistan.
The joint statement recognized that sustainable peace could be achieved only through an "inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process" that aims for a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire along with an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
The ministers emphasized their support for the Afghan peace process and the ongoing peace negotiations in Doha for the achievement of a "just and durable" political settlement.
They also recognized the efforts of Turkey, Qatar and the U.N. to hold a high-level meeting in Istanbul aimed at "giving momentum" to the ongoing Afghanistan peace negotiations.
The meeting "recalled that the Istanbul Conference had been postponed after extensive discussions with all relevant parties with a view to holding the Conference when conditions for making meaningful progress would be more favorable," the statement said.
The top diplomats also deplored the continuing high level of violence in Afghanistan, especially the high number of civilian casualties. They also condemned attacks targeting civil service employees, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers.
They also emphasized the "urgent need for an immediate cease-fire" both to end the current high level of violence and to provide a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks.
Common will to combat terrorism
The joint statement also said the ministers also recognized the importance of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) as a substantial platform that contributes to regional stability in fields ranging from political and security cooperation to economic integration.
A common will to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations has also been reiterated in the statement.
The trilateral meeting also "acknowledged the role of the regional and neighboring countries, in particular, Pakistan and Iran in hosting Afghan refugees for more than four decades and called for creating conducive conditions in Afghanistan for their voluntary, safe, dignified, expeditious and sustainable repatriation through a well-resourced plan," it added.
Ankara, Islamabad, and Kabul urged the international community to continue to assist host countries in taking care of the essential needs of Afghan refugees and to provide support to the repatriation and reintegration efforts of the Afghan government.
The ministers expressed their determination to enhance cooperation on regional connectivity in transport, trade, energy, people-to-people contacts, education, social and cultural exchange, and tourism.
The far-reaching implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic growth and public health were also among the main topics of discussion.
The top officials agreed to exchange information, research, expertise, and best practices on the COVID-19 and called for enhanced international cooperation and solidarity to effectively address the challenge, keeping in view the financial and capacity limitations of developing countries.
Recognizing the contribution of the Trilateral Summit Process to regional dialogue and cooperation, they also agreed on planning for the revitalization of the process in order to deepen bilateral as well as trilateral cooperation among the three countries to address common security threats and work on existing regional economic opportunities.
Atmar and Qureshi conveyed their gratitude to Çavuşoğlu, the Turkish government, and the "brotherly people of Turkey" for hosting the trilateral meeting, the statement concluded.