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To prevent refugee crisis: World must engage with Afghans, PM tells UN chief

By News Report
September 05, 2021
To prevent refugee crisis: World must engage with Afghans, PM tells UN chief

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday once more stressed the need for the international community to engage with the Afghans, saying such a move will not only reinforce security, but also prevent a mass exodus of people from Afghanistan, thus stemming a refugee crisis.

His remarks came during a telephone call with Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.

According to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, the premier highlighted the importance of peace, stability and an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan, reports Geo News.

He stressed that the opportunity to finally put an end to 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan "must be seized by enabling the Afghans to achieve lasting peace, security and prosperity".

"The prime minister underscored the need for the international community to become more engaged with Afghanistan, according urgent priority to addressing the humanitarian needs and ensuring economic stability," read the statement.

He noted that such steps would not only reinforce security, but also preclude any mass exodus of Afghans from their country, thus preventing a refugee crisis in Afghanistan.

According to the statement, Imran appreciated the vital role of the United Nations in delivering much needed humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. He also highlighted Pakistan's efforts to facilitate the UN by assisting in evacuation and relocation efforts.

Assuring Secretary General Guterres of Pakistan’s continued cooperation with the UN in the fulfilment of its mandate, the prime minister "reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for the smooth operation of United Nations’ humanitarian mission for Afghanistan", the statement said.

A day earlier, in a meeting with UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs Dominic Raab on Friday, Imran stressed the need for the international community to stand in solidarity with the Afghans.

He also warned about the role of "spoilers", both inside and outside Afghanistan, which could destabilise the situation.

In recent days, Pakistan has engaged in a range of diplomatic efforts to get both regional and Western powers to work with the soon-to-be-formed Afghanistan government in the interest of regional stability as well as humanitarianism.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi undertook a four-nation tour to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran to exchange views with them regarding the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon accepted Pakistan’s proposal for adopting a cohesive approach in achieving the goal to establish peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.

Qureshi, at the conclusion of his tour, said that the neighbouring countries are "fully aware" of the situation in Afghanistan and they are "realistic" about it.

UK foreign secretary Raab and Qureshi also agreed on the importance of engagement with the Afghans.

"We do see the importance of being able to engage and having a direct line of communication," said Raab, in a joint press conference with Qureshi in Islamabad.

Qureshi also held similar conversations with his German and Dutch counterparts.