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Tripartite talks: Pakistan, China, Afghanistan ink MoU for cooperation against terrorism

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December 16, 2018

KABUL/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, China and Afghanistan signed an anti-terrorism cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Saturday during the ongoing second trilateral ministerial dialogue in Kabul.

The second round of the Pakistan-Afghanistan-China trilateral dialogue is being held in Kabul to discuss peace, economic and counter-terrorism cooperation, reported the Geo News on Saturday. The Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who is leading the Pakistani delegation at the dialogue signed the document along with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Yi and their Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani. The signing was witnessed by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Earlier in the day while speaking at the opening session of the trilateral negotiations, FM Qureshi said Pakistan, China and Afghanistan will have to collectively foil the designs of enemies of peace in the region. The foreign minister stressed the need for bolstering regional cooperation in diverse sectors.

Reaffirming commitment to eradication of terrorism, the foreign minister said: "Better border management between Pakistan and Afghanistan and intelligence sharing will be greatly beneficial for both the countries." "Pakistan will continue to play facilitative role on the Afghan reconciliation process," he added. "We will do everything to support the growing momentum towards reconciliation provided others play their due role and share responsibility and create an enabling environment towards that end," the foreign minister further said. Qureshi continued, "Pakistan has always supported dialogue process for peaceful resolution of Afghan conflict and our stance has now also been vindicated by the international community."

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his remarks said his country desires to make the Afghan reconciliation process successful. "We will play our role to reduce trust deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan," Yi said and added his country also wants to further strengthen the relations with Afghanistan and desires to make it part of CPEC. "We support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process," the Chinese foreign minister said.

This is the second meeting of the three foreign ministers after their kick-off meeting in Beijing last year. FM Qureshi is accompanied by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and other senior officials of the Foreign Office on his one-day official visit to Kabul.

Speaking to the media ahead of his departure, the foreign minister welcomed the Chinese initiative of holding trilateral dialogue. "Both Pakistan and China desire peace, stability, prosperity and development in Afghanistan," he said. "We are carrying the message of friendship and peace to Afghanistan," he added. The foreign minister stressed that peace is imperative to for the region to move forward on the path of sustainable development.

The one-day Pakistan-China-Afghanistan trilateral talks held in Kabul Saturday yielded remarkable outcome since major players of upcoming polls in Afghanistan namely Dr Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are in need of Pakistan’s support desperately for their contest. Pakistan and China both have assured generous assistance for the well being of the Afghan people as both have announced to some significant projects in this regard. China has announced to lay railway line from Kandahar to Herat and other places afterwards while Pakistan will hand over two most sophisticated hospitals next year with state-of-the-art equipments being built in neighbouring areas of Jalalabad and Logar.

Highly placed diplomatic sources told The News/Jang Saturday evening that President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah had meeting with visiting foreign ministers separately. They lack cordiality in their relationship. The Chinese foreign minister has assured Islamabad and Kabul that it would provide arrangements for the comfort of each other side’s visitors on Chaman and Torkham borders entry points. The sources revealed that the trilateral meeting will have positive impact on the talks between Taliban and United States at an undisclosed place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today (Sunday). According to original schedule it had to start a day earlier. It is likely that the talks would continue for two days as Pakistan is facilitating the dialogue at the request of the United States.

NNI adds: Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has hailed Pakistan's role in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Talking to Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Kabul, he thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi for the cooperation being extended by Pakistan to attain peace in his country.

The Afghan chief executive expressed hope that the bilateral relations will touch new heights during the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan. On the occasion, the foreign minister said Pakistan will continue playing its positive and constructive role in reconciliatory process in Afghanistan. He said peace in Afghanistan is important not only for Pakistan and Afghanistan but it will have impact on the entire region. He said both the countries have been dealing with the menace of terrorism for over 40 years. Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed confidence that the Pakistan-China-Afghanistan trilateral dialogue forum will prove useful for peace and stability in the region and social development.

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