Four-nation group terms talks ‘only option’ for Afghan peace

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Islamabad, May 18 (IANS) Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Wednesday hosted the fifth meeting of Quadrilateral Coordination Committee aimed at reviving the long-stalled direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

According to a joint declaration issued by foreign office, the group comprising representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China agreed that peace negotiations were the only option for a political settlement in the war-ravaged country and all the members will use their influence in this regard.

The group members also expressed their resolve to advance the goal of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. However, the participants could not decide the schedule for next meeting.

Chaudhry represented Pakistan, while other delegations were led by Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal, the Special Representative of the US for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard G. Olson, and China’s Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs Ambassador Deng Xijun.

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The four-nation group was formed in January to try to restart the direct peace talks. But the lack of a breakthrough has left many frustrated as the Taliban have intensified their insurgency, launched in late 2001 after they were toppled from power by a US-led invasion.



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