Pakistan ready to help in holding of intra-Afghan talks; says Sartaj

KABUL: Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz has said that Pakistan is ready to help in holding peace talk with Afghanistan and stability in Afghanistan if the Afghan leaders ask for it.

He was addressing a joint news conference along with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul after their talks in Kabul.

Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has been trying to help jumpstart the peace process as a stable Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s own interest.

However‚ he said any peace talks must be afghan-led and afghan-owned. He said Pakistan will take every step to bring peace in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan would also reinforce regional efforts in support of the reconciliation process and persuade all regional countries to adopt the same policy of non-interference and non-choosing any particular group.

At the same time‚ we also want to improve Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relationship and trade ties. He said his visit brings a message of peace and cooperation from Pakistan.

The Advisor said Pakistan wants to remove all barriers in the way of trade between both countries. He said expansion in trade will bring prosperity for the people of two countries besides improving the economy.

Dr. Zalmai Rassoul said the Afghan Government‚ under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai‚ has undertaken the efforts towards improving and strengthening relations with Pakistan.

He hoped to open a new page of honest and result-oriented cooperation with the newly elected government in Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Earlier‚ the two leaders in their talks discussed ways to further promote bilateral relations and prospects for peace in Afghanistan.

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