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FM Qureshi, Blinken hold first meeting with Afghanistan in focus

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi finally met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on Thursday on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly session.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that he shared with Secretary Blinkn about the importance of the international community holding the Taliban to their commitments; also for the same community to recognise a moral obligation to help the Afghan people with the growing humanitarian crisis. The world should not repeat the mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan,” he added.

The meeting, which lasted almost an hour, began at 1pm New York time at the Palace Hotel in New York City, according to Blinken’s schedule on the website of the US Department of State. This is the first meeting between the two top diplomats with Afghanistan expected to be in focus.

Both US and Pakistan said they will issue statements on the meeting later in the day. Blinken is also scheduled to give a press briefing at 4:45pm local time.

Following the meeting, Qureshi said he had reiterated Pakistan’s focus on a relationship with the US based on trade, investment, energy and regional connectivity.

Regarding Afghanistan, the foreign minister stressed Pakistan’s commitment to an inclusive political settlement. He also emphasised the importance of the international community holding the Taliban to their commitments and recognise its moral obligation to help the Afghan people with the growing humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.

“The world should not repeat the mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan,” he stressed.

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