UN chief urges support to refugee hosting Pakistan

ISLAMABAD United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged the international community to support Pakistan in hosting “millions of Afghan refugees.” Addressing a joint news conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, he expressed gratitude for generosity of Pakistan by opening borders and hearts for refugees. It is time to give chance to peace and development in Afghanistan, Guterres said, noting that he is encouraged by Pakistan’s commitment for peace in Afghanistan.

Once peace is restored, the world should heavily invest for development of this area and providing equal opportunities to the displaced people, said the UN chief.

He noted that Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process is the only solution in Afghanistan. Answering a question regarding Kashmir issue, UN Secretary General said the UN Security Council resolutions and human rights must be respected, adding that every problem must be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.

He also offered to use his good offices for resolving the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India if the two sides agree.

On his part, Qureshi said collective efforts will have to be made for durable peace in Afghanistan.

He said we will have to jointly defeat the enemies of peace, adding that we can open a new era of development in this region through joint efforts.

Qureshi mentioned that Pakistan and Afghanistan have dependency on each other, adding that most important role regarding peace in Afghanistan has to be played by Afghan people, and for the purpose, intra Afghan dialogue is necessary.

He further said that refugees are natural ambassadors, who can take advantage of their linkages and can play a positive role in increasing trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On the occasion, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said confidence has to be restored among displaced people for their repatriation in Afghanistan. He said if Afghan refugees are assured that they will be provided better life in their homeland, they can easily decide to go back.

Moreover, UN Secretary General has called for implementing UN resolutions for amicable solution to Kashmir issue during a meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi city.

According to Pakistan military’s media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Antonio acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution in UN peacekeeping Missions and extraordinary achievements in fight against terrorism.

He thanked Pakistan for full access given to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Kashmir, and commended improved security situation in Pakistan and its positive efforts towards regional peace and stability.

Speaking on the occasion, the army chief said Pakistan remains committed and determined to achieve stable, peaceful and normalized country.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interests, overall regional security situation including Afghan refugees issue, Afghan reconciliation process and Kashmir dispute came under discussion, said ISPR.

The joint press conference came at a time when Pakistan is hosting a two day International Conference to mark forty years of Afghan Refugees’ Presence in Pakistan. The conference is being held by the Government of Pakistan in collaboration with UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The international conference on refugees is held after United States and Afghan Taliban held several sessions of peace negotiations to end 18 year long war in Afghanistan led by US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha, Qatar.

Earlier last month, Taliban rebels agreed on reduction in its “military operations” in Afghanistan until the signing of the peace agreement with the United States.

Source: Kuwait News Agency