KABUL: President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for a stable Afghanistan and expressed solidarity with the Afghan people in their pursuit of peace and stability.
The president said that Pakistan continues to support and facilitate efforts for an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. In his speech at the Quadrilateral Summit of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan, President Mamnoon said, “We have consistently emphasised the centrality of a political solution and underscored the need for all Afghans to join the peace talks. We are convinced that the road to sustainable peace in Afghanistan lies only through peaceful dialogue.”
He said that countries in the region could help the process, based on the principles of non-interference and mutual respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. The summit was attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Tajik President Emomalii Rahman. President Mamnoon Hussain said that they were meeting in Kabul at a pivotal moment in the history of their Afghan brothers. “The security, political and economic transitions underway in Afghanistan are of immense importance. We wish Afghanistan every success, including in the forthcoming elections and democratic transition,” he added.
The president said the defining element of Pakistan’s vision of a “peaceful neighbourhood” was mutual understanding and trust. “As part of this vision, we have reached out to all our neighbours and are seeking to build qualitatively enhanced relations,” he added. He opined that peace and security were no longer divisible. “We cannot remain peaceful if our neighbourhood or region is not at peace. We face common challenges of extremism, terrorism, drug trafficking and trans-national organized crime.”
Stressing upon strengthening mutual cooperation further, the president said that the four countries were already cooperating in different formats and settings to combat and address these challenges. “Our four countries offer a unique confluence of Central Asia, West Asia and South Asia with immense – yet still untapped – economic, commercial and energy potential. Together, we can play an important bridging role,” the president observed. He said deeper economic cooperation in the region can usher in a new era of well-being and shared prosperity.
Our countries are already working together on different energy, connectivity and infrastructure projects including CASA-1000, TAPI, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, and road and rail links, he added. The president expressed the hope that besides boosting trade and commerce, such projects would also help reinforce efforts for reconstruction and economic development in Afghanistan.
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