Wed, Oct

UN, Pakistan stress regional support for Afghan talks


Nicholas-HaysomA top UN diplomat has conferred with senior officials in Islamabad on prospects for wider regional support for the revival of Afghan peace talks, news reports said on Saturday.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) head Nicholas Haysom met Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz, National Security Advisor Nasir Janjua and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry.

The two sides discussed “prospects for wider regional cooperation,” the Express Tribute reported. Pakistan signalled its willingness to re-engage with Afghanistan on reviving the reconciliation dialogue.
“Pakistan wishes to constructively and meaningfully engage with Afghanistan in all spheres of bilateral relations,” another English-language newspaper, Dawn, quoted Aziz as telling Haysom.
If specifically requested by Kabul, Islamabad would facilitate the resumption of the peace process, the advisor informed his interlocutor, who spent a busy day meeting officials in the Pakistani capital.

Following an upturn in bilateral ties in the first half of the current year, mistrust returned after the collapse of reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and Taliban and a subsequent hike in attacks across Afghanistan.
Earlier in the week, President Obama’s Adviser Dr. Peter Lavoy, accompanied by Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan Laurel Miller, visited Islamabad to drum up support for the peace drive.
Before their trip, Chinese Special Envoy on Afghanistan Ambassador Deng Xijun also met officials in Islamabad and Kabul on how to restart the peace parleys.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are due to co-host the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad in December. Aziz hoped the conference would significantly contribute to stability I Afghanistan and the region at large.
Aziz and the UN envoy also reviewed the emerging political and security dynamics. Haysom appreciated Pakistan’s contribution toward peace in Afghanistan and lauded its role in the Afghan reconciliation process.
He seconded Sartaj that intra-Afghan peace dialogue would require strong regional backing and was hopeful that Islamabad would continue to play its facilitative role.