United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres on Saturday discussed the situation in war-torn Afghanistan with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the UN secretary general talked to Qureshi by telephone and “exchanged views on the current situation in Afghanistan and efforts for peace and stability in the country.”
Qureshi assured the UN secretary general that Islamabad would continue to support efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He appreciated the contribution of the UN in addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and noted that it was imperative for the international community to remain engaged with Kabul, including by supporting the Afghan people’s socio-economic and humanitarian needs.
The UN chief expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s role in facilitating the work and humanitarian mission of UN entities in Afghanistan. He sought Pakistan’s continued support in that regard.
The foreign minister assured the UN chief of all possible support to the UN in the fulfilment of its mandate.
He highlighted the facilitation being provided by Pakistan to the international community in evacuation and relocation efforts. FM Qureshi reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue to assist the UN in all possible ways.
CALL FROM UK: Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi received a telephone call from Dominic Raab, the secretary for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs and first secretary of state of the United Kingdom.
Latest developments in Afghanistan and other matters of mutual interest were discussed during the conversation.
Strongly condemning the terrorist attack near the Kabul airport, in which so many precious lives were lost, Qureshi said that Pakistan was closely following the situation in the country.
He said that safety, security, stability and protection of the rights of Afghans were critically important. An inclusive political settlement was the best way forward, he added.
Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to regional peace, he stated that Pakistan was in touch with regional and global partners. He stressed that peaceful and stable Afghanistan was important for Pakistan and the region.
He said that it was essential for the world community to stay engaged with Afghanistan to stabilise the situation and help the Afghan people economically and to continue providing humanitarian assistance.
He also apprised Raab of his visit to Central Asian countries for a coordinated approach.
Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organisations and others, including British nationals, and assured Pakistan’s continued support in this context.
RED LIST: Qureshi expressed concerns over the retention of Pakistan on the UK’s ‘Red List’ for travel ban. He explained that the COVID-19 situation in Pakistan has improved and urged the UK government to reconsider its decision.
Foreign Secretary Raab shared UK’s perspective on the developments in Afghanistan and conveyed thanks for Pakistan’s support and facilitation in the evacuation efforts.