Pakistani FM calls for intra-Afghan talks in meeting with Italian envoy

March 7, 2012 9:04 am 

ISLAMABAD, March 6 — Pakistan on Tuesday called for intra-Afghan dialogue and reiterated support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in the neighbouring country.

Taliban has refused so far to talk to the Afghan government but preferred direct contacts and exploratory talks with the United Statess. It has confirmed the opening of a political office in Qatar and contacts with the American officials in the Gulf state.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar called for intra- Afghan talks in her meeting with the visiting Italian Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Franceso Talo in Islamabad on Tuesday, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

"They discussed the recent developments in the context of Afghanistan," said the statement.

Call for intra-Afghan dialogue came days after Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani appealed to the Afghan Taliban, Hizb-e- Islami and other resistance groups to join peace and reconciliation process.

Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network have so far ignored a call from the Pakistani Prime Minister and the Hizb-e-Islami, led by former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, welcomed Gilani's statement.

"Emphasizing the importance of an intra-Afghan dialogue, the Foreign Minister reiterated Pakistan's support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process," the statement quoted Khar as telling the Italian special envoy.

She added that a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is in Pakistan's own national interest.

The Foreign Minister underlined that the people of Pakistan had rendered enormous sacrifices in the ongoing fight against terrorism. "The international community should duly acknowledge its contributions and stand by Pakistan," she said.

She said that Pakistan had always made efforts towards promoting peace and prosperity and that it would continue working together with other countries bilaterally and multilaterally to promote the cause of peace in the region.

The Special Representative invited the Minister to pay a visit to Italy at her earliest convenience. He said Italy considered Pakistan as a partner and fully appreciated sacrifices made by the valiant people of Pakistan against extremism and terrorism, the statement said. (PNA/Xinhua) RSV/mmg

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