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Dr Maleeha Lodhi

Support Urged For Afghan Reconciliation Process

UNITED NATIONS: The reconciliation process initiated by the National Unity government of Afghanistan with the Taliban to bring about peace and stability in the country should be supported by the international community, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations told the UN Security Council on Monday.

In her address during a debate on Afghanistan in the council, Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi said that Pakistan would do all that was possible to facilitate this process. She welcomed China’s closer engagement in promoting reconciliation and economic development in Afghanistan.

Ms Lodhi stressed that the Afghan parties and the international community would need to exercise strategic patience and that those who might desire to disrupt the peace process should be discouraged.

“They are on the wrong side of history,” she cautioned.

She said that at a time when Afghanistan faced a defining moment, the strategic shift in Pakistan-Afghan ties had created an optimistic regional scenario.

She recalled the visit of President Ashraf Ghani to Islamabad last November. Calling the visit historic, she said, “President Ghani’s talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif succeeded in overcoming in 3 days the accumulated challenges of 13 years and produced a strategic shift in Pakistan-Afghan relations”.

Ms Lodhi told the 15-member Security Council that the leaders of the two countries shared a vision of a partnership built on multiple pillars of common security and economic interests.

“They have committed not to allow their respective territories to be used against each other. They have initiated actions to intensify security cooperation, promote bilateral trade, streamline transit trade and forge a close economic relationship.

“Renewed interaction in the military and intelligence sphere has strengthened mutual confidence,” she added.

Published in Dawn March 17th , 2015

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