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Pakistan Can Play Key Role in Peace Process: Rassoul

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NEY YORK – Encouraged by President Hamid Karzai’s successful visit to Islamabad, Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul on Friday told the UN General Assembly that Pakistan had an important role to play in the Afghan-led peace process. “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a major neighbour, can play a key role in supporting our peace efforts,” Rassoul said in his address.

He added: “We’ve been heartened by the recent successful visit to Islamabad by President Karzai and the positive and constructive dialogue that took place between the two governments. Kabul looked forward to more steps and progress in the weeks and months to come, he said, citing Pakistan’s role in advancing the peace process as a clear example of the support that Afghanistan’s neighbours and other countries in the region could provide.

Rassoul explained parallel to their ongoing efforts to enhance the capacity and capabilities of the national security forces, the Afghan government was pursuing a political process of reconciliation with the Taliban. “The key principles and conditions for this process are clear: respect for Afghanistan’s constitution, which guarantees full and equal rights for Afghan men and women, preservation and improvement of our achievements over the past decade and renunciation of violence against the population,” he maintained.

The foreign minister also met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the reconciliation process. Accompanied by Afghan Ambassador to the UN, Zahir Tanin, he discussed a wide range of issues, including the role of the United Nations, upcoming elections, transition and reconciliation. Ban emphasised his support for an Afghan-led political solution and the importance of credible Afghan-led presidential and provincial council elections, scheduled for April 2014. (PAN)

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