The three foreign ministers highlight “urgent need for immediate ceasefire” in Afghanistan after a meeting in Istanbul. A US-backed Afghan peace conference in the city, hosted by Turkey, Qatar and UN, is postponed over Taliban’s non-participation.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks after trilateral talks on Afghan peace process with Afghanistan and Pakistan in Dolmabahce Palace Labor Office, Istanbul, Turkey on April 23, 2021.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks after trilateral talks on Afghan peace process with Afghanistan and Pakistan in Dolmabahce Palace Labor Office, Istanbul, Turkey on April 23, 2021. (AA)

The Turkish foreign minister has said that peace efforts and support for “Afghan brothers and sisters” will continue robustly in the coming period.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Istanbul on Friday, following a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mevlut Cavusoglu underlined that both Afghanistan and Pakistan are brotherly nations for Turkey.

He emphasised that Turkey has strong bonds of history with the two countries, and thanked them for supporting Turkey in its fight against terrorism.

Cavusoglu said they had a chance to discuss opportunities for the establishment of peace, stability and security in the region, and the welfare of the nations in the trilateral meeting of foreign ministers, and stressed that the Afghanistan peace process was on the main agenda.

In a joint statement issued after talks in Istanbul, Cavusoglu and ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan emphasised "the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire" to end the violence and "provide a conducive atmosphere" for peace talks.

READ MORE: Turkey, US discuss Afghan peace process ahead of crucial Istanbul summit

'Important opportunity'

Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar joined the meeting via video link for health reasons, Cavusoglu said.

The ministers "called on all parties, in particular, the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment for achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan desired by the Afghan people, the region and the international community," according to the joint statement.

They also "deplored the continuing high level of violence in Afghanistan."

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said only a negotiated political solution can resolve Afghanistan's issue.

Noting that the meeting was held at a critical time, Qureshi said that they would like to hold this meeting not only at the level of foreign ministers but also at the level of heads of state.

It is a "very important opportunity," he said, and stressed that it is a period in which Afghans should be extremely open-minded and flexible.

Qureshi said that everyone, especially Afghanistan, will suffer if this opportunity is not seized now.

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Political solution

Qureshi said the joint statement is an indicator of "our desire to move forward," and thanked Cavusoglu for creating this opportunity.

He went on to say that the political solution can be discussed through dialogue between all parties.

Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar, who attended the meeting online due to health reasons, said that Afghanistan is committed to peace process, and its desire to hold a meeting involving all stakeholders remains intact.

Atmar said he had a good opportunity to discuss with Pakistan and Turkey about areas of cooperation and establishment of security.

He also thanked Turkey for its readiness to host a peace conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul.

He noted that the three countries agreed to call on the Taliban to stop the violence, observe a ceasefire and participate in the Istanbul conference.

READ MORE: US withdrawal from Afghanistan is a pandora's box

Peace conference

On Tuesday, Turkey announced the postponement of the much-anticipated peace conference until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Taliban declined to attend the peace conference in Turkey, demanding withdrawal of all foreign troops by May in line with the Doha Agreement with the US.

The meeting was scheduled on April 24-May 4 to fast-track an agreement between the Taliban and Kabul amid the announcement by Washington that foreign troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11.

READ MORE: Turkey: Afghanistan peace summit in Istanbul postponed

Source: TRTWorld and agencies