At UN, Pakistan calls for diplomatic surge to settle Afghan conflict
Speaking in the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi highlighted international consensus around the notion that a negotiated settlement was the only way forward to pursue a settlement as a positive step forward.
Lodhi said that the decision by the United States to engage in direct talks with the Taliban was another positive development and Pakistan will support those talks.
"For close to two decades, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly declared that the war in Afghanistan can be brought to an end only through a negotiated political settlement," the Pakistani envoy told the 193-member Assembly during a debate on the situation in Afghanistan.
The ambassador stated that We [Pakistan] are gratified that this is now the universal position mentioning that violence in Afghanistan had escalated sharply.
Referring to the efforts being made by Russia, China and other regional states, the envoy said sustainable peace requires the endorsement of all regional partners to promote engagement and dialogue with and among the Afghan parties.
"It is but obvious that the people of Afghanistan desperately desire peace and an end to this long war," the Pakistani envoy said and added that the challenge that lies ahead is translating this sentiment and recent developments into a serious and sustained peace process.
"While the onus for seizing this opportunity rests on the parties directly involved in the Afghan conflict, Pakistan, for its part, will do what it can to support all efforts to launch a sustained peace process," Lodhi asserted.
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi continued that the people of Afghanistan have experienced violence and turmoil that undermines national and international peace and security.
But she said the global community had remained steadfast in its support for the Afghan people; Pakistan too had suffered from the situation in Afghanistan and 2 million refugees reside in the country.
"We opened our hearts and homes to millions of Afghan refugees and have sustained them for almost four decades, with less than adequate support from the international community," the Pakistani envoy said.
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