Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked by the unbreakable bonds of geography, history, culture, ethnicity and faith. Our destinies are intertwined. Afghanistan has endured endless conflict and suffering for the past 40 years. We have shared their trials and tribulations. We hope to share their joy when peace returns to Afghanistan. A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is indispensable for peace and stability in the region and beyond. Prime Minister Imran Khan has consistently maintained that the conflict in Afghanistan can be ended, not by military force, but through a political settlement involving the full spectrum of Afghanistan’s political landscape. We are gratified that this now reflects the international consensus. To help turn this consensus into reality, and as a shared responsibility, Pakistan has facilitated the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. The commencement of the Intra Afghan negotiations in Doha on 12 September 2020 has re-kindled hope for peace through a comprehensive political settlement. It is only through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process that a comprehensive, inclusive negotiated political settlement can be achieved. Arriving at this inflection point has been an accomplishment, and this success belongs, first and foremost, to the Afghans. Pakistan has walked with the international community and our Afghan brothers and sisters on the path to peace, encouraging reduction in violence and urging dialogue and negotiations. The commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations is the outcome of our combined efforts. 2 It is now for the Afghan leaders to seize this historic opportunity, work together constructively, and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. It is the Afghans who must be the masters of their destiny, and decide their own future, without outside influence or interference. Pakistan welcomes the recent agreement reached on rules and procedures by the Afghan parties in Doha. The agreement reflects a common resolve of the Afghan parties to secure a negotiated settlement. It is a significant step towards a successful outcome of Intra-Afghan Negotiations. Pakistan will continue to support the Intra-Afghan Negotiations and looks forward to an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political solution paving the way for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s neighbors, and the international community, must respect the will of the Afghan people expressed through these Afghan-led and Afghan-owned negotiations. Spoilers, from within or without, must not be allowed to subvert the success of these negotiations and prevent a comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan. The machinations of such spoilers must be defeated. We hope that despite multiple challenges, and possible periodic setbacks, all Afghan parties will persevere in the pursuit of a political settlement. Terrorism has had a devastating impact on Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries. We share the determination of the international community not to allow Afghanistan’s territory to be used by Al-Qaida, ISIL or other international terrorist groups and their affiliates to threaten or attack any country. Pakistan also shares the international concern about the continuing high level of violence and escalating civilian casualties in Afghanistan. We call on all parties to the Afghan conflict to take urgent steps to reduce the level of violence leading to the cessation of hostilities. The bilateral interaction between Pakistan and Afghanistan has intensified. Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Kabul last month at the invitation of President Ashraf Ghani. Earlier, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah visited Islamabad at the invitation of our Prime Minister. During the Prime Minister’s visit to Kabul, the leaders agreed on a Shared Vision to Support Peace and Stability in both countries and the wider region. Time bound actions have been agreed to further enhance intelligence cooperation, refugee repatriation and regional connectivity. Pakistan will continue to manifest its solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. While the world was closing borders in the COVID crisis, Pakistan opened five border crossing points with Afghanistan. We revised the visa policy to facilitate visits by our Afghan brethren; and donated medical equipment to help them fight the pandemic Afghanistan. To foster and sustain peace, Afghanistan will continue to need generous international economic support and cooperation. It will also need support for the return of the Afghan refugees in dignity and honour. We trust that such international support announced at the Afghanistan Conference in Geneva will materialize into sustained economic support for Afghanistan. Pakistan has committed US$ 1 billion to Afghanistan’s development half of which has been utilized for infrastructure and capacity building projects. At this moment of hope, I assure our Afghan brethren that Pakistan will always support a peaceful, stable, united, democratic, prosperous and sovereign Afghanistan, at peace with itself and with its neighbours, says a press release received here today from New York.