Pakistan has a key role to play in Afghanistan: Hague


LONDON (APP) – British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday that Pakistan had a major role to play for peace in Afghanistan and that his country recognised the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the fight against extremism and terror.

Speaking at a news briefing at the FCO following his joint last week’s visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan with the UAE Foreign Minister, Hague said he was encouraged by his discussion with the Pakistani leadership on a range of issues common to both the countries. Hague said in his discussion, the Pakistani leaders called for promoting reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He added that the UK has always welcomed dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan as friendly relations between the two neighbours would yield positive impact on the regional peace and environment.

Responding to a question, he said discussion with the Taliban were in the preliminary stages and acknowledged the role of UAE in this regard. He brushed aside impression that Pakistan has been kept out of loop on the reconciliation process in Afghanistan and reiterated the key role of South Asian country in promotion of peace in its western neighbouring country.

In fact, Hague mentioned that Pakistan was actively participating in Trilateral Core Group meetings comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.

He pointed out that the UK and Pakistan enjoy very friendly and cordial relations and have deep ties on issues relating to trade, commerce, education, cultural and defence.

Hague said the UK had appreciated the elimination of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden but maintained that fight to eradicate terrorism was by no means over and both his country and Pakistan together with the international community were determined to remove this scourge for ever.

The British Foreign Secretary also mentioned Britain’s development assistance to Pakistan and GBP 650 million funds that are to be spent in the next three years to help as many as four million children in age group of five to nine years enroll in primary schools and distribution of six million text books.

He also spoke on the enhanced strategic dialogue launched earlier this year between the two countries which he added would lead to further deepening of relations between the two countries.

Answering another question, the British Foreign Secretary said that British military trainers have been withdrawn from Pakistan on security grounds. Their withdrawal, he said, would not affect the ties between the two countries which remained solid and cordial.

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