–Qureshi says headway in peace talks between US and Taliban will provide favourable environment for meeting
–Says some powers want to sabotage Pakistan-Iran relations
As the United States and Afghan Taliban eye 7th round of peace talks, Pakistan hopes a breakthrough in the dialogue could lead to a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump.
In an interview with Urdu News, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said progress in Doha talks will establish a ground for a meeting between Imran and Trump, ushering a new era of bilateral ties between the two countries.
However, the minister said the meeting between the two premiers was not dependent on peace talks, but it will be favourable [for Pakistan] if the talks move forward.
PM Imran and President Trump are important personalities, he said, adding that both countries were deeply interested in establishing peace and stability in the region.
The sixth round of peace talks between the US negotiators and Taliban members ended in Doha on May 9. According to the statement issued after the meeting, both sides discussed issues they agreed in draft in their fifth round of talks and that developments were made on some of them, not all the issues.
The key issues under debate were foreign forces withdrawal, ceasefire, counterterrorism assurances and intra-Afghan dialogue. The two sides agreed in draft on counterterrorism assurances and foreign forces withdrawal from Afghanistan in the fifth round of the talks in mid-March.
Taliban said the sixth round of the talks were “constructive and productive”. “The sixth round of talks, in total, were positive and both sides patiently heard each other’s views,” the statement read.
The statement said both sides will discuss the issues on which developments have been made and also on the issues no progress was made and then will start another round of talks.
Qureshi, who had earlier claimed that terrorists were using Iranian soil to conduct attacks in Pakistan, said that “some powers keep trying to create misunderstandings between Pakistan and Iran in order to fulfil their own agendas”.
“Whenever attempts are made [to create misunderstandings between the two sides], Pakistan and Iran defuse them through bilateral talks on the level of security and intelligence agencies,” he said. He, without specifying, said there were “powers” consider Iran a threat to the region.
Referring to security threats being faced by Saudi Arabia, Qureshi said, “Pakistan had stood by the kingdom whenever it was threatened and will continue to do so”.
The foreign minister further said that a Pakistani delegation is currently in China to brief the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) affiliate Asia-Pacific Group over the steps taken by Pakistan to curb terror financing and money laundering.
He expressed hope that the body will remove Pakistan from its ‘grey list’ when the FATF meeting will be held in June.
Addressing the visa sanctions that Washington had imposed on three government officials earlier this week due to a row over repatriation of deportees, Qureshi said that the restrictions were “temporary”.