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September 7, 2019

Trilateral Dialogue: Pakistan, China, Afghan FMs meet today

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September 7, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The third round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue will be held at the Foreign Office today (Saturday) under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani will lead their respective delegations. “The agenda of the dialogue focuses on political relations and the peace process, security cooperation and counter terrorism, and development cooperation and connectivity,” said an announcement from the Foreign Office.

The trilateral comes as US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad returned to Qatar for more, unscheduled talks with the Taliban after some deadly terrorist attacks claimed by the Taliban. No reason was given for his dash to Qatar. “His return comes just four days after he announced that his team had reached an agreement "in principle" with the Taliban aimed at ending the longest war ever to ensnare the US military,” said media reports.

When he announced the draft agreement on Monday, Khalilzad said his negotiations with the extremist group had concluded and that the deal lacked only approval from his bosses in the Trump administration. So far, the Taliban have been reluctant to deliberate directly with the Ashraf Ghani government. Ghani has also raised questions about the draft agreement between the Taliban and Americans saying he had concerns about the agreement.

A statement shared by presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi on Wednesday asks for clarifications about the agreement and its risks to avoid “unpleasant consequences.” China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue was established in 2017 as a means of trilateral cooperation on issues of mutual interest and with a particular focus on cooperation in economic development and peace and security.

The first meeting of the dialogue was held in Beijing in 2017 and the second in Kabul in December 2018.

The dialogue provides an opportunity to illustrate the joint efforts made by the three countries on political cooperation and facilitating Afghan peace and reconciliation process since the last round.

“Pakistan attaches highest importance to the dialogue as a part of political trust building, development and cooperation and connectivity leading to greater understanding on issues of common concern,” added the statement.

In the first round on December 26, 2017, Wang Yi expressed that Afghanistan and Pakistan were China's traditional friendly neighboring countries and strategic cooperation partners.

The China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue should abide by the principles of mutual respect, equal consultation, friendly cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results, scientific and practical manner, and gradual improvement, and commit to realizing the following goals.

The first is to help Afghanistan and Pakistan improve and develop their relations, injecting positive energy into the establishment of mutual trust as well as the deepening of cooperation between both countries.

The second is to support peaceful reconstruction and reconciliation process of Afghanistan, so as to realize an extensive and inclusive political reconciliation led and owned by the Afghan people at an early date. The third is to enhance trilateral security cooperation to jointly combat terrorism in any form.

The fourth is to push forward international cooperation of the "Belt and Road" and discuss the effective approaches of connectivity and economic integration of the three countries.

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