`Inclusive` settlement must for Afghanistan: PM Sharif
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday pledged his support for Afghan efforts to seek peace with the Taliban, saying a solution could be found only through an "inclusive political settlement".
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday pledged his support for Afghan efforts to seek peace with the Taliban, saying a solution could be found only through an "inclusive political settlement".
Addressing a joint press conference in Kabul after talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Sharif said, "The key to sustainable peace in Afghanistan in 2014 and beyond is an inclusive political settlement.
"I...Urge all the stakeholders to seize this moment and join hands to support peace efforts," he said. "It is imperative to reverse the destructive cycle of conflict."
He said Pakistan will continue to extend all possible facilitation for the Afghan peace process. "This is the time to take decisive steps for moving forward the dialogue process and bringing it to a successful conclusion," he said.
Sharif made a one-day visit to Kabul at Karzai`s invitation at a time when Afghanistan is preparing for crucial presidential polls and the drawdown of US and foreign forces next year.
Pakistan has been jockeying for a greater role in Kabul`s troubled peace process with the Taliban. It has freed over 35 Afghan Taliban commanders to boost the peace process but analysts say the move has not produced the expected results.
"We stand at the threshold of a consequential year in Afghanistan`s history. In 2014, the Afghan people would take major steps towards becoming the masters of their own destiny. We welcome this milestone and wish our Afghan brothers well," Sharif said after one-on-one and delegation level talks between the two sides.
"Our vision of a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood can only be realised by having peace and stability in Afghanistan and by forging cooperative ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said.
This is Sharif`s first visit to Afghanistan since he assumed office in June. Prior to his departure, Sharif told reporters here that peace in Afghanistan is a priority for Pakistan and all efforts would be taken to accomplish that.
"I wish to make it absolutely clear...A peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan is in Pakistan`s vital interest," he said.