Politics

Pakistan, U.S. discuss Afghan peace, Sharif's visit to Washington

16 october, 12:47 1040

A U.S. special regional envoy Monday opened talks with Pakistani officials in Islamabad and discussed reconciliation process in Afghanistan and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to Washington next week, officials said.

U.S. Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan James Dobbins met Advisor to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on the first day of his visit, Xinhua reports.

They discussed agenda of talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and U.S. President Barack Obama, state radio reported.

Prime Minister Sharif is scheduled to meet President Obama at the White House on October 23. This will be Sharif's first meeting with President Obama since he has assumed office in June this year.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had extended formal invitation to Sharif during the latter's visit to the UN last month.

The U.S. envoy and Pakistani advisor also discussed Pak-U.S. relations and situation in Afghanistan and the region, Radio Pakistan reported.

Official sources said that both sides also focused on the reconciliation process in neighboring Afghanistan as end game is fast approaching and the U.S. troops will leave by end 2014.

They said the two diplomats reviewed possibility of talks with the Afghan Taliban as the process has been facing a deadlock since the closure of the Taliban office in Qatar in June.

Both countries are now looking at options on how to revive the Qatar peace process or opt for an alternate path to find out a political solution prior to the NATO withdrawal.

Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar Sunday warned that no alternate process other than the Political Office in Qatar will be accepted.

The U.S. is anxiously seeking Islamabad's help in the process.

Ambassador Dobbins had also acknowledged recently that Islamabad had increased its support to the Afghan peace process.

He had also recognized Pakistan's role in facilitating direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

"Pakistan has also, particularly over the last six months or so, become active in supporting an Afghan reconciliation process and urging the Afghan Taliban to participate in that process," he had said in September.

Pakistan says it has recently released senior Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to facilitate the peace process. The Taliban however says that Mullah Baradar has not yet been freed

Source: timesca

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