Thursday Jun 03, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that the peace, prosperity and economic development of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan are linked.
In his virtual address at the 4th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, the foreign minister said Pakistan had always strived to strengthen its relations with China and Afghanistan in the bilateral as well as regional context.
"We attach great importance to this dialogue enhancing cooperation and coordination," he said.
Qureshi said that it was about four years ago that the three countries had conceived this trilateral forum for discussing collaborative efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, enhancing security and counter-terrorism cooperation and deepening regional connectivity and shared economic development through meaningful projects.
The foreign minister said since then, Pakistan had successfully moved forward this forum through a gradual, phased but consistent approach.
He said the United States and NATO forces had already started withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
He said while the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan entailed serious security challenges, it also offered a unique opportunity for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and moving the country from a perpetual internal conflict to an era of peace and stability.
"We should, therefore, explore how our three neighbourly countries can work together to deal with the evolving situation in an effective manner and steer it towards achieving our shared objective of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region," he said.
The foreign minister said Pakistan, China and Afghanistan were located in a region which had immense opportunities for fostering mutually beneficial economic and development cooperation.
Our three geographically linked countries straddle historical routes traversing east-west and north-south, he added.
Qureshi said durable peace and stability in Afghanistan would lead to a conducive environment for harnessing the true potential of regional connectivity and further deepening economic inter-dependence through use of innovation and technological advances.
"Such an outcome will surely contribute to progress, welfare and better lives for the peoples of our countries," he added.
Qureshi expressed the confidence that the deliberations of trilateral meeting on all the agenda items would be constructive, meaningful and result-oriented.
He thanked State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for hosting the meeting and welcomed Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar joining in.
China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin had earlier said the three foreign ministers will have in-depth exchanges of views on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and counter terrorism and security cooperation.
The China, Afghanistan and Pakistan trilateral foreign ministers' meeting is an important platform to enhance mutual trust and promote cooperation, the spokesperson said.
Since its inception in 2017, at the initiative of China, it has been held three times and achieved positive outcomes.
Islamabad hosted the third round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue on September 7, 2019 during which the three sides "agreed on a list of initial projects of enhancing counter terrorism cooperation".
The first and second meetings were held in Beijing and Kabul in 2017 and 2018 respectively.