Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Pakistan, Uzbekistan to work for Afghan peace

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Uzbekistan vowed to work jointly for regional peace, especially in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a joint news conference here after a meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov said both the countries shared views on Afghanistan.

They expressed the resolve to further enhance bilateral cooperation to promote peace and stability in the region.

Qureshi said both countries shared common views on Afghanistan as they feel that there was no military solution to the Afghan problem. He added: “We are prepared to facilitate and support the dialogue process in Afghanistan.”

This week, Pakistan had released Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to facilitate a peace deal with the militants in Afghanistan.

Baradar is one of four men, including Mullah Omar, who founded the Taliban movement in 1994. He served in several key positions when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001. Ghani was arrested from Karachi in 2010.

US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad had visited Islamabad to meet Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua on October 9. The two sides had decided to use their influence for regional peace, especially in Afghanistan.

Qureshi said both Pakistan and Uzbekistan want peace in Afghanistan and were willing to support the efforts.

The minister said he and the Uzbek minister had also discussed rail-road corridor, which will enhance the connectivity in the region. He said there were great opportunities to promote bilateral trade between the two countries.

Abdulaziz Kamilov said Pakistan, as a regional power, can play role in guaranteeing regional peace and stability.  The minister said: “Pakistan and Uzbekistan have common views on regional security, especially peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

He said the two sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation in trade, transport, communication, and other sectors. “We also talked about strengthening cooperation in the areas of tourism, people to people exchanges and cultural and humanitarian ties between the two countries,” he added.

The visiting minister said: “We discussed cooperation between the two countries in facing various challenges and threats. I had in my delegation the Head of National Security Services, which is evident of the fact that we give importance to cooperation between the two countries in the realm of security.”

He said Pakistan and Uzbekistan teams talked about strengthening cooperation in the areas of tourism, people to people exchanges and cultural and humanitarian ties between the two countries.

“I have invited my colleague and brother to pay an official visit to Uzbekistan as soon as possible which may also serve an opportunity to visit historical places like Samarkand and Bukhara,” he said.

A foreign ministry statement said, Abdulaziz Kamilov undertook an official visit to Islamabad with a high-level delegation. He was accompanied by Ikhtiyor Abullayev, Chairman of the State Security Service and Ismatulla Irgashev, Special Representative of President of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan along with other representatives of Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State Security Service of Uzbekistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his strong desire to see rapid increase in economic cooperation with Uzbekistan.

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