Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation and Ambassador Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, US State Department held delegation level talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 29 April 2019. The two US officials are visiting Islamabad as part of regular consultations on the Afghan peace process, Pakistan-US bilateral relationship and regional security situation.
The talks in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were led by Ambassador Aftab Khokher, Additional Secretary (Americas) from Pakistan’s side. Senior officials from Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence as well as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul were also present. Ambassador Wells and Ambassador Khalilzad were accompanied by an inter-agency delegation.
The two sides reviewed recent developments regarding the Afghan peace process. It was underlined that this was a historic opportunity to end the prolonged Afghan conflict for which all Afghan stake-holders as well as Afghanistan’s neighbours had an important role to play. Pakistan reiterated its support for intra-Afghan dialogue, which is vital to move the process forward. It was highlighted that the prospective agreement in Afghanistan must contribute to bringing lasting peace and stability leading to international cooperation and development in Afghanistan. The Pakistan delegation also emphasized the need for creating a conducive environment in Afghanistan for early and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland.
The two sides reviewed the state of engagement and cooperation between Pakistan and the United States on a range of bilateral issues including political, economic and consular matters. Additional Secretary Khokher emphasized the need to intensify engagement in the economic and trade cooperation. In this context, early convening of the next round of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting was emphasized. It was noted that the inter-sessional meeting would be held in Islamabad on 2 May 2019.
The two sides agreed to remain engaged in the context of Afghan peace process and strengthening of bilateral ties.