Pakistan to fully facilitate Afghan peace efforts: Qureshi

Islamabad, Jan 8 (ANI): Pakistan will not shirk from taking every step possible to promote and facilitate the Afghan reconciliation efforts, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.

Backed by President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan High Council for Peace intends to open a dialogue with Taliban insurgents who have been trying to bring down his government since the US-led invasion overthrew the Taliban regime in late 2001, in an effort to ensure lasting peace in the war-torn country.

During a meeting with US Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Frank Ruggiero, Qureshi paid tribute to late Richard Holbrooke for his contributions towards transforming the Pakistan-US relations into a long-term partnership, the Daily Times reports.

Discussing the US Strategic Review on Afghanistan, the foreign minister said it was encouraging that the US had acknowledged successes achieved by Pakistan in containing militancy and terrorism.

Qureshi also underlined that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan was in Pakistan's strategic interest. He said that the US review's emphasis on development and reconciliation was noteworthy.

On the Trilateral (Afghanistan-Pakistan-US) Ministerial Meeting to be held in Washington in February this year, the two sides underlined the need for full preparations with a view to achieving maximum tangible results.

The two sides also expressed confidence that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to Washington and US President Barack Obama's visit to Pakistan this year would add considerably to the process of strengthening bilateral relations, taking them to new heights. (ANI)

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