Press Trust of india

Qureshi discusses Afghan peace process with Lavrov in Moscow

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Islamabad/Moscow, Dec 26: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday in Moscow and the two leaders discussed the progress on Afghan peace process and the recent developments in the region.

Qureshi, who arrived here early wednesday on the last leg of his four-nation tour, also talked about the bilateral and regional situation.

"On the final leg of his tour to regional countries, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi held discussions with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov," Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal tweeted.

He said that bilateral and regional situation especially progress on Afghan peace and reconciliation discussed.

Russia last month hosted Afghan peace talks that were attended by delegations of the Taliban, the Afghan government and global stakeholders. A Pakistani delegation had also attended the peace talks.

So far Qureshi has visited Kabul, Tehran and Beijing, where he met his counterparts and other high-ranking officials.

In Kabul, he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani on Monday and later dashed to Iran to meet his counterpart Javad Zarif.

During his meetings in Afghanistan, Qureshi stressed the importance of peace in the war-torn nation for regional stability and renewed Pakistan's commitment to assist in the process.

With Zarif on his trip to Tehran on the same day, the foreign minister discussed bilateral relations and regional situation. Both officials agreed on the importance of improved bilateral relations between the two countries.

On Tuesday, Qureshi was in Beijing and met Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and discussed the latest situation in Afghanistan.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing in Beijing on Tuesday that both sides reiterated their determination to adopt a joint course of action for regional peace and stability, to promote connectivity and work for Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Diplomatic sources said Qureshi briefed his hosts about Pakistan's efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table in order to achieve peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

In a sudden move, President Donald Trump last week announced his decision to pull around half of the 14,000 US troops stationed in Afghanistan. The move has stunned and dismayed allies, diplomats and officials in Kabul. The announcement comes during a renewed push for talks with the Taliban to end the 17-year war.

Last week, Pakistan brokered a meeting between the US and the Taliban in Abu Dhabi in a bid to pave the way for reviving the peace process that has remained stalled since 2015, Dawn reported.

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