Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to visit Pakistan next week

ISLAMABAD: In a crucial development against the backdrop of recent hiccup in ties between the two neighbours, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced on Tuesday he will visit Pakistan next week.

A Foreign Office statement confirmed that the Afghan President and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will jointly inaugurate the regional conference on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad.

“I look forward to the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Islamabad, for jointly inaugurating the Heart of Asia meeting on December 9,” the Foreign Office quoted the prime minister as saying.

Further, PM Nawaz is reported to have said he is looking forward to  discussions on the sidelines of the meeting on “how the two countries and the US and China can work together to pick up the thread of the reconciliation process from where it was left off in July 2015.”

On Monday, PM Nawaz met Ghani on the sidelines of the world climate summit in Paris amid heightened tensions over Kabul’s accusations that Islamabad aided the Taliban in their brief capture of the northern Afghan city of Kunduz in late September. .

The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to work together to revive stalled peace talks with Taliban insurgents after meeting on the sidelines of a climate change conference in Paris, officials said.

Pakistan hosted a historic first round of peace negotiations in July. But the talks stalled soon thereafter when the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their longtime leader Mullah Omar.

The United States and China have been pushing for the process to restart, but frosty ties between Islamabad and Kabul have been hampering those efforts.

A government statement late Monday said Ghani and Sharif had discussed the negotiations while they were in Paris. ”Both leaders agreed to work with all those who would enter such a process as legitimate political actors and act, alongside the Afghan government, against those who refuse to take the path of peace,” the statement said.

To this end, the forthcoming meeting of Heart of Asia – Istanbul process, to be held in Islamabad on December 9, 2015 provides an opportunity to evolve a common roadmap for result-oriented reconciliation in Afghanistan, the statement added.


NEO Web Desk

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