ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that the renewed push for political settlement of the Afghan conflict had created new hopes and opportunities for peace in Afghanistan and the region, which nobody could afford to miss.

Talking to a delegation of the Afghan politicians, academicians, journalists and businessmen who are on a visit to Pakistan, the Foreign Minister conveyed Pakistan’s strong desire for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

He shared with the delegation the efforts Pakistan had made to facilitate the ongoing peace process and expressed the hope that the progress achieved so far would lead to a result oriented intra-Afghan dialogue.

He underscored that the recent statement by Prime Minister Imran Khan, calling for reduction in violence and underscoring the need for intra-Afghan dialogue, was manifestation of Pakistan’s sincere desire for peaceful resolution of the conflict, that was a prerequisite for development of Afghanistan and the region.

He emphasised that the Government of Pakistan’s people centric agenda of socio-economic development could only be achieved if there was peace in the region.

Appreciating Pakistan’s key role in facilitating the Afghan peace process, the delegation thanked the Foreign Minister for his personal commitment, particularly his efforts to help build regional consensus on the issue.

The delegation also shared proposals for building trust, strengthening political cooperation and enhancing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

The delegates underscored that the real strength of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations was the strong people-to-people ties between the two brotherly countries.

Agreeing with the Afghan delegation, the Foreign Minister stated both the governments needed to work closely to deepen people-to-people exchanges and steer the two counties and the region towards a brighter and more prosperous future.