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Pakistan joins US, Russia and China call for Afghan ceasefire

WASHINGTON: Pakistan joined the United States, Russia and China at a consultation meeting in Beijing on Friday and agreed to continue joint efforts for realizing a political settlement in Afghanistan to bring peace and stability to the region.

“China, Russia and the United States welcomed Pakistan joining the consultation and believe that Pakistan can play an important role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan appreciated the constructive efforts by the China-Russia-US trilateral consultation on the Afghan peace process,” a joint statement issued by the State Department said.

The four countries “encouraged all parties to take steps to reduce violence leading to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations.”

The countries also emphasised the importance of the trilateral consensus on the Afghan peace process reached in Moscow on April 25, 2019. “All sides welcomed recent positive progress as the crucial parties concerned have advanced their talks and increased contacts with each other. All sides also welcomed intra-Afghan meetings held in Moscow and Doha,” the statement said.

The statement further said the four sides called for relevant parties to grasp the opportunity for peace and immediately start intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government and other Afghans to “produce a peace framework as soon as possible.”

“This framework should guarantee the orderly and responsible transition of the security situation and detail an agreement on a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all Afghans,” it added.

The date and venue for the next consultation will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

The statement comes days before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington.

Earlier this week, members of the Taliban and government met in Qatar, a breakthrough even though participants were said to be there in a personal capacity.

The Taliban, believing they have an upper hand as they seek a US troop withdrawal, have refused to negotiate with the internationally recognized government or to halt its deadly campaign of attacks.

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