TRILATERAL MEETING HELD IN TURKEY TO REVIVE STALLED AFGHAN TALKS

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ISTANBUL, APR 23 (DNA) – Foreign ministers from Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan held a meeting in Istanbul on Friday in an effort to revive the Afghan peace process days after a key UN-led conference was postponed due to non-participation of the Taliban.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in a statement said that in their meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, and Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated their commitment to support a peaceful, sovereign, independent, democratic and unified Afghanistan.

The three ministers recognized that sustainable peace can be achieved only through an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process that aims for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire along with an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

They emphasized their support for the Afghanistan Peace Process and the ongoing Afghanistan Peace Negotiations in Doha for the achievement of a just and durable political settlement.

The foreign ministers recognized the efforts of Turkey, Qatar and the UN to hold a high-level meeting in ?stanbul aimed at giving momentum to the ongoing Afghanistan Peace Negotiations.

They recalled that the Istanbul Conference had been postponed after extensive discussions with all relevant parties with a view to holding the Conference when conditions for making meaningful progress would be more favorable, therefore called on all parties, in particular, the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment for achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan desired by the Afghan people, the region and the international community.

The ministers condemned the ongoing high level of violence in Afghanistan, especially regretted the high number of civilian casualties and particularly condemned attacks targeting civil service employees, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers.

They emphasized the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire both to end the existing high level of violence and to provide a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks.

They recognized the importance of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) as a substantial platform that contributes to regional stability in fields ranging from political and security cooperation to economic integration.

The ministers reiterated their common resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

They acknowledged the role of the regional and neighboring countries, in particular, Pakistan and Iran in hosting Afghan refugees for more than four decades and called for creating conducive conditions in Afghanistan for their voluntary, safe, dignified, expeditious and sustainable repatriation through a well-resourced plan,

The foreign ministers asked the international community to continue to assist host countries in taking care of the essential needs of Afghan refugees and to provide support to the repatriation and reintegration efforts of the Government of Afghanistan,

Recognizing the contribution of the Trilateral Summit Process to regional dialogue and cooperation, the ministers agreed on planning for the revitalization of the said Process in order to deepen bilateral as well as trilateral cooperation among the three countries to address common security threats and work on existing regional economic opportunities. = DNA

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