UNITED NATIONS - A top Pakistani diplomat told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Pakistan was committed to ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan and the wider region, as the war-torn country prepares to assume full responsibility in most of the areas next year.

Speaking in a debate on the situation in Afghanistan, Ambassador Masood Khan also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to an Afghan-led, Afghan owned peace and reconciliation process. “As they (the Afghan people) move towards this destination, Pakistan will remain their committed and steadfast partner,” he said. “What we need most is faith in each other and a vision for common future.”

The tide seemed to be turning, he said, adding, his Government was pleased to see positive developments on several fronts, despite continuing challenges.

“If there are temporary setbacks, we must stay the course,” he said, expressing the hope that not only would the international community remain engaged, but that engagement would be based on ground realities and the priorities of the Afghan authorities.

Pakistan’s engagement was driven by the belief that the two countries had a shared destiny, he said. It was strengthening the trilateral mechanism to ensure more effective work with Afghanistan on socio-economic development matters, he added.

“Pakistan was also setting up a joint, Ministerial-level mechanism to strengthen the border between the two countries, specifically targeting all illegal activities. Indeed, such activity would decrease dramatically if interdiction measures on both sides were enhanced,” he added.