German, Pakistani FMs discuss ties, Afghan situation

Heiko Maas, Shah Mahmood Qureshi hold joint press conference in Berlin

Rabia Iclal Turan  | 12.04.2021 - Update : 12.04.2021
German, Pakistani FMs discuss ties, Afghan situation


German and Pakistani foreign ministers discussed on Monday bilateral relations and international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan.

"Peace negotiations need to be continued and violence in the country has to come to an end after decades of conflict," Heiko Maas said during a press conference in Berlin with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Qureshi arrived in Germany Sunday on a three-day visit as the two countries celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations.

Stressing that Pakistan hosts more than 3 million Afghan refugees, Maas added: "I'd like to give you that number to illustrate how intensively Pakistan is influenced by developments in Afghanistan."

Qureshi said the two countries have a very similar approach in Afghanistan as they both want peace and stability in the region.

Underlining that Germany has played an important role in stabilizing the regional situation, he said the issues will also be discussed during the forthcoming meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Taliban and Afghan government representatives are deadlocked in peace talks in Qatar meant to end decades of war and carve out a path for post-war Afghan society.

The talks came after a February 2020 US-Taliban deal that promises the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the war-torn country in exchange of security guarantees.

The Iran nuclear deal was also on the agenda as Maas said: "It won't be easy but so far we've seen a constructive spirit."

Qureshi said Pakistan, as a neighbor of Iran, "wants to see peace and stability and confrontation is not what we are looking for."

Negotiations in Vienna between representatives of Iran, France, the UK, Germany, Russia, China, and the EU began this month in what could be a lengthy process to bring the US back to the nuclear deal.

The framework for talks was laid during a virtual meeting of the joint commission of the deal, also known as JCPOA.

Asked about rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir, Maas said "the conflict can only be solved by way of negotiations" and Germany wants that the human rights situation "improves on the ground."

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts, but claimed by both in full. Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed region.

Separately, in a tweet, the Pakistani minister said talks in the "excellent meeting" focused on strengthening bilateral and political cooperation, as well as cooperation in areas such as renewable energy, agriculture, health, education and climate change.

Germany is the largest trading partner of Pakistan in the EU, and home to more than 100,000 Pakistani diaspora. Meetings with the expat community and business leaders are also part of the schedule.

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