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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today in Ashgabat on the sidelines of the Global Conference on Sustainable Transport. The two leaders had a cordial exchange of views regarding efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan and strengthening relations between the two countries.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm commitment to the efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan. In this regard, he reiterated Pakistan’s keen desire for deepening engagement with Afghanistan stressing on the need for enhancing bilateral political interaction, security coordination, trade and transit,connectivity and people to people exchanges.

Emphasizing that politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process was the most viable option for lasting peace in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan would continue its serious efforts for facilitating the peace process, including through the QCG. He appreciated Afghan Government’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan and expressed support to the peace agreement between Afghan Government and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan.

The two leaders discussed the need of cooperation to combat the scourge of terrorism, which was a common enemy and a serious challenge to peace in both countries, and the region. The Prime Minister said that eliminating this menace required effective coordination between security, intelligence and counter-terrorism institutions of the two countries.

Discussing the importance of economic development for peace and stability in Afghanistan, President Ghani thanked the Prime Minister for Pakistan’s new development package of $ 500 million announced at Brussels last month. The Prime Minister suggested that the focus should be on promoting connectivity to stimulate economic development, for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.

The two leaders also agreed on the need for continued engagement in other areas, including coordination for smooth, safe and dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees and their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan. President Ghani thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for more than three decades.

26 November 2016

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