UN, New York, March 16, 2015

Pakistan today called upon the international community to actively support the reconciliation process initiated by the National Unity government of Afghanistan with the Taliban to bring about peace and stability in the country.

In her maiden address to the UN Security Council on the debate on Afghanistan, Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN assured that Pakistan would do all that was possible to facilitate this process. She welcomed China's closer engagement in promoting reconciliation and economic development in Afghanistan.

She said that the Afghan parties and the international community would need to exercise strategic patience and that those who may desire to disrupt the peace process should be discouraged. “They are on the wrong side of history”, she cautioned.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said at a time when Afghanistan faced a defining moment, the strategic shift in Pakistan-Afghan ties have created an optimistic regional scenario.

She recalled the visit of President Ashraf Ghani to Islamabad last November. Calling the visit “historic”, she said, “President Ghani’s talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif succeeded in overcoming in 3 days the accumulated challenges of 13 years and produced a strategic shift in Pakistan-Afghan relations”.

She told the 15-member Security Council that the leaders of the two countries share a vision of a partnership built on multiple pillars of common security and economic interests. “They have committed not to allow their respective territories to be used against each other. They have initiated actions to intensify security cooperation, promote bilateral trade, streamline transit trade and forge a close economic relationship. Renewed interaction in the military and intelligence sphere has strengthened mutual confidence”, she added.

Ambassador Lodhi said that Pakistan was working to strengthen border controls and cooperation. Referring to Pakistan's Zarb-e-Azb military operation, she said that this operation has targeted all terrorist groups without distinction and that Afghanistan's cooperation against terrorists targeting Pakistan was greatly appreciated in Islamabad.

Pakistan welcomed the renewal of UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan's mandate today that comes at a defining moment for Afghanistan, a moment of hope for its people and the entire region.

Ambassador Lodhi said that Pakistan has welcomed the peaceful transition in Afghanistan and the formation of the National Unity Government, led by President Ashraf Ghani. “Pakistan whole-heartedly endorses his Decade of Transformation and the programme for effective governance, economic and social development and national reconciliation”, she added.

Pakistan also welcomed President Ghani's resolve to bring Pak-based Afghan refugees back home and provide a roadmap to do so within a specified timeframe. Ambassador Lodhi said that UNAMA should accord priority to assisting the process of refugee repatriation and resettlement.