NEW YORK  -  Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi underscored Pakistan’s support for all political initiatives towards achieving peace in Afghanistan during a meeting with the United States Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in New York.

Afghan-born Khalilzad, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, Afghanistan and Iraq, called on the foreign minister at his hotel on Thursday. He was accompanied by Alice Wells, the US Principal Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.

The foreign minister noted that, after assuming his office, he had consciously undertaken his first official visit to Kabul, according to an official statement. This was a reflection of the importance his government attached to Afghanistan, he said.

Qureshi emphasised that Pakistan regarded peace and stability in Afghanistan as vital for its own long-term stability and progress. The foreign minister recalled that Pakistan had always held that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict. Pakistan, therefore, welcomed the United States renewed emphasis on effecting a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Khalilzad thanked Foreign Minister Qureshi for his support, and said he looked forward to working with Pakistan for peace and stability in Afghanistan, the statement said. Earlier, Foreign Minister Qureshi held talks with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that were focused on enhancing cooperation in diverse areas such as trade, investment, education and development.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in progress in New York.

During the meeting, Hunt congratulated Qureshi on his appointment as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister.

The Foreign Minister also briefed his British counterpart on relations with Afghanistan, and grave human rights violations being committed by Indian security forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

He said that peace and stability in Afghanistan was a shared responsibility, and Pakistan would continue to support the structured bilateral engagement plan through five working groups of Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) to address all matters of mutual interest.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia expressed satisfaction at the expanding relations between the two countries.  Qureshi and his Saudi Arabian counterpart Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir met in New York.

Recalling the Prime Minister’s “highly successful” visit to Saudi Arabia last week, they took note of the complete convergence of views between the leadership of the two countries.

 on regional and global issues, and agreed to maintain the momentum generated by the visit to achieve tangible results on mutually agreed areas of cooperation, according to an official statement.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister expressed deep appreciation for the “gracious invitation and warm hospitality”, extended by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, to the Prime Minister and his entourage.

The two Foreign Ministers agreed to remain closely engaged to chart out a road map for enhancing bilateral trade, business and investment relations.

They also agreed to convene the next round of Bilateral Political Consultation between the two Foreign Ministries at an early date,to take their discussions forward.

Qureshi and European Union’s High Representative of the European Union on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini on Wednesday discussed steps to strengthen cooperation between Pakistan and the EU.

The two leaders, who met on the sidelines of 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, highlighted the positive impact of European Union’s “GSP Plus” status on trade between Pakistan and the EU, according to an official statement.

Pakistan acquired the GSP plus status in 2013 that grants member States duty-free access to 96 per cent of Pakistani exports to the EU.

They also agreed to continue work together for the strengthening cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, development, migration and peace and security.

The Foreign Minister also briefed the High Representative on the regional situation.

He reiterated that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process was the only viable option for a lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Peace and stability in Afghanistan was in the best interest of all, including Pakistan and the region, he stated.

The Foreign Minister reiterated the invitation to the High Representative to visit to Pakistan in November this year for the Pakistan-EU Strategic Dialogue.

The High Representative said she was looking forward to the visit, the statement said.