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Peace in Afghanistan is subject to regional peace:PM Nawaz

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ISLAMABAD:(APS)Dec 9m2015-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for collective approach to combat the menace of extremism and terrorism.

Inaugurating Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Ministerial conference in Islamabad this morning along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, he said Afghanistan is more than a neighbor for Pakistan, as both the countries have historic cultural and religious affinities.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan will always stand by Afghanistan. He said the international community respects the sovereignty and integrity of Afghanistan.

He said the democratically elected government in Afghanistan is the legitimate authority in the country. He said the enemies of Afghanistan are the enemies of Pakistan and the government will continue to support an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process that remains the most viable option to promote stability and end violence.

Nawaz Sharif called upon the international community to extend full support to Afghan peace efforts.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan is pursuing the policy of peaceful neighborhood as peace is vital for development and peace. He said Pakistan remains committed to strengthening its relations with all neighbors and regional countries as well as promoting regional cooperation and connectivity.

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In his remarks on the occasion, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appreciated Pakistan for launching operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists. He said his country desires strong people-to-people contacts with Pakistan for further strengthening of relations and mutual trust. He thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees on its territory over the last many decades.

Ashraf Ghani pointed out that TAPI is a very important regional energy project which will soon be inaugurated in Turkmenistan. CASA 100 project will also bring the people of the region closer together.

Ashraf Ghani said terrorism is a common problem of Pakistan and Afghanistan as both the countries have suffered immensely in the war against this menace.

Addressing the conference, Indian Minister External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said her country is ready to extend cooperation for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.

The Indian External Affairs Minister said the regional connectivity and promotion of trade was essential for peace and security.

Sushma Swaraj said elimination of terrorism from Afghanistan was a collective responsibility.

The Kyrgyzstan representative in his speech said effective steps are needed to be taken to stamp out terrorism from the region.

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