ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday pushed for the country’s first diplomatic overture to help develop a joint regional strategy to help stabilise Afghanistan so as it could play a key role in connecting central Asia for trade and exchanges.
Qureshi has been on a diplomatic tour, visiting Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran, in order to share Pakistan’s perspective on the latest developments in the war-torn neighbouring country and help develop a joint regional strategy for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
During his meetings with his Uzbek and Tajik counterparts, the FM emphasised the need for “close coordination” on the situation in Afghanistan as he began a four-nation regional diplomacy tour.
In his meeting with Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov in Tashkent, Qureshi discussed the regional security situation, particularly the evolving Afghanistan situation.
Emphasising Pakistan’s support for an inclusive political setup, the foreign minister remarked that peace in Afghanistan would bring stability in the region, promote trade and facilitate people to people linkages.
“It was therefore important that neighbours of Afghanistan coordinate closely on the situation in Afghanistan,” an official handout says.
The two also discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, which they said had transformed into a “strategic partnership” due to recent frequent high-level exchanges.
They agreed to follow up on the implementation of decisions taken during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent trip to Uzbekistan.
“The two foreign ministers agreed to continue consultations to advance shared objectives of a peaceful, prosperous and connected region,” the handout said.
Later in the day, Qureshi also met Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during which he conveyed Prime Minister Imran’s warm greetings and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to enhance bilateral ties in all areas of mutual interests.
President Mirziyoyev termed his country’s relations with Pakistan “important”. He stressed that Uzbekistan was keen to develop ties with Pakistan, especially in the areas of transport and connectivity, according to an FO statement.
He agreed with Qureshi that “regional connectivity, trade and economy will be further enhanced with the peace in Afghanistan.”
The president was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Imran on the sidelines of the forthcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Dushanbe next month to discuss issues of mutual interest, the FO statement added.
In his meeting with Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin, FM Qureshi underscored the importance of continued international engagement in Afghanistan as a shared responsibility.
He briefed his Tajik counterpart on Pakistan’s policy to support an inclusive political solution in Afghanistan and expressed hope that Afghan leaders would achieve a workable solution, the FO statement said.
It added that FM Muhriddin appreciated Qureshi’s initiative to reach out to Afghanistan’s neighbours for a coordinated approach and the two foreign ministers agreed to remain in close contact.
Qureshi also appreciated Tajikistan’s role during its presidency of the SCO.
He also said that Prime Minister Imran was keen to visit Tajikistan for the upcoming SCO summit in September.
During his visit to Tajikistan, FM Qureshi also called upon President Emomali Rahmon and continued to stress the importance of a coordinated approach to realise the “shared objectives of a connected region”, to which the Tajik president agreed.
The foreign minister further said that both Pakistan and Tajikistan could benefit immensely from a peaceful and stable Afghanistan in terms of enhanced economic cooperation and connectivity, the FO statement said.
“During the call, FM Qureshi conveyed warm greetings from Prime Minister Imran Khan and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen relations in all areas of mutual interests.”
The Tajik president in turn said that he looked forward to receiving the premier at the SCO Summit next month.
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