FM Qureshi discusses Afghan peace, regional situation during day-long visit to Qatar

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and other top officials during a one-day trip to Doha on Sunday.

Qureshi and the Qatari officials in their meetings discussed the overall regional situation, as well as the Afghan peace process.

They also discussed increasing cooperation between Qatar and Pakistan in different fields, in addition to other regional and global issues.

Upon arrival in Qatar, the foreign minister was received by top officials of the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Pakistan in Doha.

Before embarking on the trip, Qureshi had spoken about the relationship between Pakistan and Qatar, where a large Pakistani community resides.

The foreign minister, who last week wrapped up a whirlwind, three-day four-nation tour of Kabul, Tehran, Beijing and Moscow in connection with the Afghan peace process, had said that Pakistan had decided on “regional outreach” and on taking important allies into confidence, as well as exchanging views with them about the regional situation and the Afghan issue.

Qureshi said that Doha had played a role in the peace and reconciliation process in the past and it was therefore important to get their opinion on the matter.

Qatar has been hosting the Taliban’s political office since 2013, but Pakistan-backed talks between US and Taliban were held in the UAE capital. This apparently was done to accommodate Saudi Arabia and UAE in the process. Diplomatic observers say the move did not go well with the Qatari leadership.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had also spoken to Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani on Dec 24 via telephone. The premier was to visit Doha, but it was decided that Qureshi would travel in his stead.

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