US to attend Quadrilateral meeting next week in Pakistan to discuss Afghan-led reconciliation

WASHINGTON: The United States will attend a quadrilateral meeting in Pakistan next week to discuss coordination efforts to set the conditions for peace in Afghanistan, a US State Department spokesman said.

Besides Pakistan and the United States, the meeting will be attended by representatives from Afghanistan and China, spokesman John Kirby told a regular briefing at the State Department. The United States is looking forward to the discussions, he added.

“It’ll be an opportunity to further our partnership with Afghanistan, Pakistan and China in support of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation, which is what we’ve said all along we want to see,” the spokesman said.

The meeting is a good and significant follow-up to the Heart of Asia conference held last month in Islamabad, the spokesman said, referring to the fifth meeting of the ministerial conference that included 14 participating states, 17 supporting countries, 12 international and regional organizations.

The main objective of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference is to foster peace efforts, progress and development in Afghanistan and the region.

“We are obviously looking forward to trying to make some progress here on what has been a very difficult issue,” spokesman Kirby said and added that no Taliban were going to be participating in the Quadrilateral coordination meeting.

“It is aimed at coordinating Afghan, Pakistan, China and U.S. efforts to set the conditions for peace in Afghanistan,” he added.

The last Quadrilateral meeting was held in Islamabad last month and was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken along with their respective delegations.

The meeting had reiterated its support for Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and affirmed full support to the democratically elected government in Afghanistan.

The meeting had also agreed that reconciliation process remains the most viable option to end violence and promote stability in Afghanistan and the region.