Ambassador of Pakistan to Belgium, European Union and Luxembourg addressed a Two-Day Conference on Implementation of New Strategy for Afghanistan

Islamabad: Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Ambassador of Pakistan to Belgium, European Union and Luxembourg addressed a two-day Conference on the “Implementation of a New Strategy for Afghanistan” organized by the Socialists and Democrats Political Group in the European Parliament on 27 June 2011. Socialists and Democrats (S and D) Group is the second largest Political Group in the European Parliament with 184 members. In addition to several high ranking and influential MEPs, the Conference was also attended by Mr. Sham L. Bathija, Senior Advisor Minister for Economic Affairs to the President of Afghanistan, Ambassadors of Afghanistan, Iran, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Senior diplomats from the U.S and Indian Embassy in Brussels as well as senior officials of the European External Action Service also participated, says a press release received from Brussels here today.

Ambassador Jilani in his remarks stated that while the situation in Afghanistan remained worrisome, certain positive developments in Afghanistan gave a lot of hope. He said that Pakistan supports Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. There had been a sea change in the Pakistan – Afghanistan relations in the last three years and Pakistan was engaged in several development projects in Afghanistan. Ambassador Jilani said that Pakistan supports an Afghan led and Afghan owned process of reconciliation.

He noted that Pakistan and Afghanistan had established a 2-tier mechanism in support of the peace process. Pakistan is also a part of the Core Group alongwith Afghanistan and the US. The Core Group deals with the evolving situation including transition, reconciliation and development projects.

“No other country besides Afghanistan had suffered as much as Pakistan due to the 32 years long conflict in Afghanistan”, Ambassador said.

He welcomed President Obama’s June 23rd statement laying emphasis on political settlement, and an inclusive reconciliation and reintegration process.

Ambassador Jilani noted convergences with the United States with regard to Afghanistan and regional situation. He said that Pakistan and the United States are on the same page as to the need of an all inclusive political process, including reconciliation with Taliban. He noted that Pakistan had all along advocated a political solution and an inclusive approach.

The Ambassador stressed that the future political settlement of the Afghanistan should be acceptable to all groups in Afghanistan besides addressing the security concerns of all regional countries. It should also be ensured that Afghanistan’s territory is not used by any country to destabilize Pakistan.

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