IRNA EXCLUSIVE

Pakistan calls for regional consensus to address Afghan issue

Islamabad, Sep 11, IRNA – Foreign Minister of Pakistan says achieving a consensus among regional countries could lead to the best solution to the problems in Afghanistan.

Talking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) at the Islamabad airport before leaving for Tehran on Monday, Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that neighbors of Afghanistan must agree on a common approach towards Afghanistan problem.

“Basically my main purpose of the visit to Iran is to evolve some consensus amongst the neighbors of Afghanistan, because peace in Afghanistan will have a comprehensive effect on the rest of the region,' Khawaja Asif said.

The Pakistani top diplomat said that the US military approach in Afghanistan has already failed to address the problems in the country.

'Peace in Afghanistan is what we want and we have been struggling for it from last decades,” he said.
“It is very important for us, it is very important for the region that we evolve consensus over different problems,” he added.

Khawaja Asif also said that, it is very important and imperative that regional disputes should be solved by the countries in the region because the imported solutions won’t work.

“It is our interests which is paramount, so the countries of the region should find a solution and a common approach to our problems,” he said.

He said in the aftermath of the speech made by US President Donald Trump and the announcement of his new strategy in Afghanistan and south Asia, there are few questions which are very important.

“In Pakistan we do believe that there can be no military solution to Afghanistan problem, it has to be political solution, a political solution is always a long-lasting one but military solutions will collapse soon, Khawaja Asif said.

Couple of days ago, I went to China and reiterated on a political solution to Afghanistan, he said.

“I will also be going to Turkey tomorrow to try Pakistan’s best to evolve a regional consensus on Afghanistan,” he added.

“No need to say that the approach taken by the Americans which is a military one, has not been able to bring peace to Afghanistan 16 years and military solution will not work,” the Pakistani foreign minister said.

“I am also planning to meet my Russian counterpart in near future on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session and discuss the peaceful approaches for Afghanistan issue with him,” he added.
Commenting on Iran-Pakistan ties, Khawaja Asif said that, Pakistan and Iran are brothers.

We must meet with each other regularly and we hope Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will meet President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN Generally Assembly session in the near future.

Our relationship goes back in history which is centuries old relationship. Pakistan was part of the sub-continent and Iran has had deep relations with the sub-continent for thousands of years, he said.

Foreign Minister of Pakistan led a high level delegation to Tehran on Monday to discuss the new US policy for Afghanistan and south Asia with top Iranian officials.

During his one-day visit, Khawaja Muhammad Asif is expected to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani. Bilateral ties would also come under discussion.
National Security Advisor of Pakistan Naseer Khan Janjua, Foreign secretary of Pakistan Tehmina Janjua and Foreign ministry Additional Secretary on UN affairs Tasnim Aslam are accompanying Khawaja Muhammad Asif in his visit to Iran.

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