ISLAMABAD: The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) believes that violence serves no purpose and that peace negotiations remain the only option for a political settlement in Afghanistan, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria made the comment at a press conference held to release the outcomes of the closed-door meeting convened in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad on Wednesday between envoys from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States.
The QCG strongly condemned the April 19 terror attack in Kabul and underscored that those who perpetrate such acts of terrorism should be ready to face the consequences of their actions.
The countries also expressed their continued determination to advance the goal of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
“QCG is aimed at facilitating direct negotiation between Afghan government and the factions at war in Afghanistan, including Taliban. Under the QCG arrangement, all members have shared responsibility to bring Taliban and other groups to the negotiation table,” said Zakaria.
The fifth meeting of the QCG, hosted by Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, came after a gap of nearly three months. It faced a tough challenge to deal with Kabul’s demand for the use of a military option.
After the Taliban refused to join talks under the QCG in March, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in a policy shift, prioritized war with the Taliban in his parliament speech on April 25.
“The other three members are just the facilitators. They are just helping, bringing those warring factions, or the militant groups, to the negotiation table,” said the spokesperson, stressing that the efforts of the Afghan government and the people themselves are vital to achieve peace in the country.
The other delegations were led by the Afghan President’s Special Envoy and Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, the Special Representative of the United States for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard G. Olson, and China’s Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs Ambassador Deng Xijun.
The next QCG meeting will be convened as mutually agreed, Zakaria added – AFP