Four nations to meet on Afghan peace talks on January 16

Islamabad, Jan 1 (IANS) The first round of quadrilateral meeting of Pakistan, Afghanistan, US and China will take place on January 16 to work out a clear and comprehensive road map for a meaningful Afghan peace process, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Thursday.

The efforts to facilitate the Afghan reconciliation were started on the occasion of the “Heart of Asia” Conference in Islamabad on December 9.

Diplomatic efforts will get momentum with the meeting to revive the dialogue process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Pakistan earlier brokered the first ever face-to-face talks in early July and the second round was cancelled after the death of the Taliban leader Mullah Omar was revealed in late July.

All stakeholders are now making efforts to end the deadlock in the process that was necessary to stop the Taliban’s Spring Offensive. The Taliban launch the annual offensive in late March or early April.

Asif told the senate the quadrilateral meeting will clearly demarcate responsibilities of each stakeholder at all stages.

Talking about the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s recent visit to Kabul, he said the army chief carried a message to Kabul that the peace process would necessarily be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.

“It was agreed that they will pursue peace and reconciliation with Taliban groups willing to join the process,” the minister informed the upper house of the parliament.

Elements that would still continue to pursue violence will be dealt, under a mutually worked out framework, he declared.

All eyes are now on the four-nation meeting that was seen very significant to explore ways for the revival of the dialogue process.

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