Islamabad, March 06, 2013 (PPI-OT): In a speech at a conference on the situation in Afghanistan post-2014 at the National University of Modern Languages, Ambassador Richard Olson stated that “2014 is not an exit. It is a continuation of a long-term commitment and engagement with the Afghan people. 2014 is not 1989.
The United States will not disengage from the region.” Ambassador Olson noted that, “The international community’s financial and political commitment, and the nearly $20 billion in pledges for security and development assistance that have already been made through 2024, stands out as a defining difference between 2014 and 1989. The United States, and nations across the globe, have unambiguously committed to Afghanistan’s future.”
“As President Obama and President Karzai agreed in Washington, Afghan-led peace and reconciliation is the surest way to end violence and ensure the lasting stability of Afghanistan and the region,” Ambassador Olson recalled.
“The U.S. role is to help advance such a process, including by supporting an office in Qatar, where negotiations can take place between the Afghan High Peace Council and authorized representatives of the Taliban.” In order to facilitate a negotiated peace, Ambassador Olson called for the United States and Pakistan to work together with purpose, noting, “For the sake of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region, Pakistan’s full support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process is needed now.”
Ambassador Olson also reiterated the United States commitment to a cooperative and long-term partnership with Pakistan. “The U.S. relationship with Pakistan is not shaped solely by our commitments and responsibilities in Afghanistan.
This partnership is far broader than any one issue, and centered on areas of mutual interest,” he said. “It is not dictated solely by the requirements of today, but rooted in the joint realization that the security and prosperity of our peoples is better served when we remain engaged, and cooperate.”
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