Pakistan PM to urge Trump to restart Afghan peace talks

Taliban Mullah Abbas Stanikzai, center, attends “intra-Afghan” talks in Moscow on Feb. 6. (AP)
Updated 18 September 2019

Pakistan PM to urge Trump to restart Afghan peace talks

  • Calls the suspension of peace talks “unfortunate“
  • Says “no chance of talks” with India until the curfew is lifted in disputed Kashmir region 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he would urge US President Donald Trump next week to revive Afghanistan peace talks with the Taliban militant group.
Trump abruptly canceled secret talks with the Taliban at his Camp David retreat that were planned for Sept. 8 and has since said the talks are “dead.”
“It will be a big tragedy if these talks don’t make headway,” Khan said at a ceremony at Pakistan’s Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan.
Khan said he would meet Trump in New York on Monday, and would emphasize that there had been “destruction and chaos in Afghanistan for the last 40 years.”
“We will put our best (effort) that these talks are resumed again,” he said.
Khan said Pakistan had directed Taliban leaders to participate in earlier peace talks in Qatar and only discovered too late that talks had broken down. He said his next role would have been to convince the Taliban to open talks with the Afghan government.
Khan is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly while in New York.
The PM also said there was “no chance of talks” with India about its clampdown on the disputed territory of Kashmir until it lifted a curfew for people there.

Pakistan ready to 'facilitate' efforts to reduce regional tension - PM Khan

Updated 40 min 25 sec ago

Pakistan ready to 'facilitate' efforts to reduce regional tension - PM Khan

  • Pakistani premier visited Tehran on Sunday to promote regional peace and security
  • Pakistan on Friday rejected reports that Saudi Arabia had asked Islamabad to mediate on Iran 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan will extend full facilitation of efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Arabian Gulf and help resolve differences and disputes through political and diplomatic means, as he held wide-ranging talks with the Iranian leadership in Tehran.

“Pakistan will act as a facilitator, not as a mediator to help reduce tensions – now and in the future,” Khan said addressing a joint news conference with President Hassan Rouhani.  

Khan said that “I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh...I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president.”

Pakistan's foreign office said in a statement that Khan’s Iran visit was “part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region.”

The prime minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the PM on overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, and other senior officials.

Khan also met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during his day-long visit. He is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed his resolve to comprehensively upgrade Pakistan- Iran relations. He also apprised the Supreme Leader of his initiative for regional peace and security,” the foreign office said.

The latest trip will be Khan’s second visit to Iran this year. He also held a bilateral meeting with the Iranian president on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly session in New York last month.

On Friday the Pakistani foreign office in a statement rejected media reports that Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan to play a mediatory role to defuse tensions with Iran. 

“These reports are without any basis as no such letter or message was conveyed, nor has Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan to play any mediatory role with Iran,” the foreign office said.