Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in Kabul yesterday for the second trilateral meeting with Afghanistan and China on development and security.
The first round of trilateral talks was hosted by China in December 2017.
The three neighbours have agreed to boost co-operation on counter-terrorism operations, enhance regional connectivity and build political trust between Islamabad and Kabul.
“Both Pakistan and China desire peace, prosperity and development in Afghanistan,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told journalists in Islamabad before his departure.
Local broadcaster Geo TV quoted Qureshi as saying: “We are carrying the message of friendship and peace to Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan and the United States accuse Islamabad of providing support to Taliban militants fighting the Afghan government and international forces in the country.
Pakistan rejects this accusation.
However, Kabul has been pushing Islamabad to use its influence on the Taliban leaders allegedly hiding in Pakistani border regions to convince them to open peace talks with the Afghan government.
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan confirmed that Islamabad is facilitating talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban.
The talks are scheduled to begin tomorrow (December 17), Dawn newspaper reported.
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump also asked Pakistan to help being the Taliban to the negotiating table in Afghanistan.
Efforts to bring the Taliban to the peace table have faltered for years as the militant group views the US-backed Afghan state as a “puppet government”.
During the trilateral meeting, Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani asked Qureshi to step up his country’s efforts to achieve peace between the neighbouring nations.
“We want result-oriented actions from Pakistan in bringing peace and the sincere support of the country for the reconciliation process,” Rabbani said.
Qureshi likewise put the blame for regional tensions on Kabul: “If Afghanistan wants peace, then the country should stop pointing fingers on Pakistan.”
Reaffirming commitment to eradication of terrorism, he 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 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.”
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.”
Earlier, upon his arrival in Kabul, Qureshi said that the time has come to end the blame game and “move on for a shared future”.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said his country is ready to co-operate in bridging the gaps between Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to achieve peace between the two nations.
“We will play our role to reduce trust deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Yi said, adding that China also wants to further strengthen relations with Afghanistan, and desires to make it part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“We support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” the Chinese minister said.
The three ministers later signed an anti-terrorism co-operation memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the trilateral meeting.
The signing was witnessed by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Qureshi is accompanied by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and other senior officials of the Foreign Office on his one-day official visit to Kabul.
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