Khawaja Asif off to Turkey for regional consultations


ISLAMABAD Sept 12 (TNS):  Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif left for Turkey on Tuesday after spending a day in Tehran and holding meetings with Iranian officials.

According to informed sources, the foreign minister will meet Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Staying a day in Tehran on Monday, he called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani besides holding a meeting with his counterpart Javad Zarif.

According to state radio, Khawaja Asif exchanged views with Iranian officials on latest regional situation and different aspects of the bilateral relations in the backdrop of new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

Asif had emphasised that all regional countries will have to form consensus for joint efforts to settle the Afghan issue while talking to Iranian media after holding a meeting with the Iranian foreign minister.

He added that purpose behind Tehran tour is to reach consensus with the neighboring countries of Afghanistan on matters concerned with recently announced Afghan policy of the United States.

“Peace in Afghanistan will leave lasting effects on the region,” he said while refusing military solution for the war-torn country.

He opined that American army has failed to deal with Afghan issue, adding that the regional countries should come forward over the matter.

It merits mentioning here that Pakistan’s decision to approach regional countries come after US President Donald Trump’s blistering accusations of habouring terrorists on Pakistani soil and prolonging Afghan insurgency while unveiling his new policy for the region.

Last week, Asif had postponed his meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington. Pakistani government also delayed the visit of Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, to Islamabad.