Afghanistan

Afghan peace process quadrilateral talks in Kabul on Feb 23: Foreign Office

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MATEEN HAIDER

ISLAMABAD: The next round of quadrilateral talks centred on the Afghan peace process will take place on Feb 23 in Kabul, Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Thursday during a briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Quad­ri­lateral Coordination Group (QCG) aims to facilitate dialogue between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban. The four-nation process was established in December on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference with Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US and China agreeing to devise a mechanism under which they could work together for the resumption of the reconciliation process.

In response to a question, Zakaria said the next the round of quadrilateral talks on Afghanistan would take place on Feb 23 in Kabul, where efforts to resume dialogue between Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government would be reviewed.

"This group is facilitating the talks," the spokesman said.

Briefing media at the Foreign Office, Zakaria said no dates for foreign secretaries level talks between India and Pakistan have yet been decided. However, both sides are in touch. The Indian High commissioner's statement to Pakistan has been noted, and hoped that dates for foreign secretary-level talks would be decided as early as possible.

Regarding Russian President Vladmir Putin's visit to Pakistan in May this year, the spokesman said no dates have yet been decided. However, Pakistan "would welcome this visit whenever it is announced."

Middle East policy

The spokesman said Pakistan is part of the 34-nation Saudi alliance. However, the possible role of Pakistan.is still being decided.

On Syria, the spokesman said Pakistan wants the resolution of the Syrian crisis through peaceful means.

Afzal Guru

When asked to comment on the anniversary of the Kashmiri leader Afzal Guru's execution, he said, "The Kashmiris have never accepted the unfair Indian trial to execute Afzal Guru. Human rights organisations had also condemned the manner in which Afzal Guru was executed."

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