Pakistan urges Taliban to pursue peace process despite curbs
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Pakistan Saturday asked Afghanistan ruling Taliban to pursue peace process despite the UN sanctions, which has caused anger among the people in the war-shattered country.
"We also want the Afghan government to address to the concern of the international community to alleviate the problems of the people," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan said.
"The international community must also constructively engage Taliban in the interest of regional peace and stability", the spokesman stressed.
He said Pakistan would abide by the provisions of the UN resolution, which calls for ban on arms supply to Taliban, travel restrictions on Taliban leaders, closure of Taliban offices abroad, prohibition of Ariana planes, scaling down diplomatic staff, closure of bank accounts of Osama bin Laden and his associates.
Khan said the one-sided ban on the supply of weapons to Taliban would encourage the northern alliance to push for military option to change its fortune. "This could prolong conflict and add to the hardships of the Afghans, who are facing difficulties due to severe drought in 30 years".
Asked if Pakistan will close the Afghan embassy or ask Taliban to scale down its staff, he said the UN resolution only urge the governments to scale down diplomatic missions where it has. "We will be in touch with the Taliban in Islamabad to find out the strength of the mission and any step they may be taking in response to the UN resolution".
"We desire to see peace and normalcy to the war ravaged country. Pakistan has supported to achieve that objective. We are co-operating UN envoy on Afghanistan Francesc Vendrell, the six-plus-two group and the OIC. We will spare no effort for national reconciliation in Afghanistan".
Asked why Pakistan is not asking Taliban to expel Osama bin Laden, the spokesman said the matter of Osama is basically for Afghan government to decide.
"It is for the Afghan government to take and adopt position in the best interest of their country and the people. We hope that Afghan government will address to the concern of the international community".
To a question about the visit of the US Centcom chief General Tommy, Mr. Khan said the visit was part of regular consultations between the Centcom and Pakistan.
About the monitoring system on the border to check supply of arms as part of implement of the UN curbs on Taliban, he said the UN will decide about it. The UN implementation committee will be looking at the issue, which will meet within 2 months.
About arms embargo on Taliban, the spokesman said Pakistan favours ban on the supply of arms on all warring sides and it should not be imposed on one side.
He said according to the UNHCR figures Pakistan has received in the last few months more than one hundred thousands Afghan refugees. "We have already host to nearly two million Afghan refugees". He said Afghan refugees are coming only to Pakistan as borders of other countries with Afghanistan are closed.
He said the international community should address to the problems of Afghans and efforts should be made to help them inside Afghanistan. Rehabilitation can help restoration of peace in Afghanistan. We are encouraged with the Afghan Foreign Minister Maulvi Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil that Taliban will protect foreign aid workers despite understandable anger of Afghans. We hope that the UN will launch a substantial programme to assist the Afghan people"
He said Pakistan will not close completely border with Afghanistan for Afghans for indefinite period. "But the movement at the border should be regulated".
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