PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN: PAK, GERMANY PLEDGE TO WORK HAND-IN-HAND

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The Foreign Minister Qureshi warns against repeating mistakes of the past saying abandoning Afghanistan is not an option as it will have serious consequences

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has expressed his gratitude to Pakistan for playing a significant role in evacuation of foreign nationals including Germans from Kabul.

Addressing a joint news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday along with his Pakistani counterpart after delegation level talks, he said Germany stands ready to support the neighboring countries of Afghanistan experiencing the impact of Afghan situation.  He said his country will not abandon them in facing the challenges. He said we have already provided one hundred million euros in humanitarian assistance and five hundred million euros have also been pledged for various projects in neighboring countries of Afghanistan.

He said Germany is closely coordinating with Pakistan on Afghan issue as well as bilateral relations. 

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the world community to stay engaged with Afghanistan for peace and stability there. The Foreign Minister warned against repeating mistakes of the past saying abandoning Afghanistan is not an option as it will have serious consequences.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the world should remain vigilant   of spoilers in Afghanistan. He said the international community has to discern between those standing for peace and the spoilers.

The Foreign Minister said Pakistan has been hosting over three million Afghan refugees for decades. We have been providing them with education and health care facilities as well as livelihood opportunities. He emphasized the need for creating such an environment in Afghanistan so that the need for another exodus does not arise again.

Commenting on the collapse of Ghani government, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said they were not speaking the truth on the actual situation in Afghanistan. He said Ashraf Ghani finally fled along with his aides and colleagues.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said recent statements made by the Taliban are encouraging and positive. He said they will have to act on the pronouncements and respect the human rights and international norms.

As regards bilateral relations, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed the desire to further deepen relations with Germany in different fields.

He said both the countries have planned a number of activities to celebrate seventy years of establishment of diplomatic relations this year.  He pointed out that Germany has been an important investor in Pakistan and there are opportunities to further enhance trade and promote relations in the areas of renewable energy, Information Technology, Housing, electric vehicles etc.  He said there are also opportunities for German investors in Special Economic Zones being established under the CPEC.

The Foreign Minister also expressed satisfaction over the defense cooperation between the two countries.