Pak-Afghan huddle to review action plan tomorrow

Published: June 9, 2019
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Both sides will take stock of progress made under APAPPS. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Both sides will take stock of progress made under APAPPS. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The first review session of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) will be held tomorrow (June 9) in Islamabad.

The Pakistani team will be headed by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood while Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Idrees Zaman Afghan will lead his side.

The APAPPS became operational in May 2018 to provide a comprehensive and structured framework for institutional bilateral engagement between Pakistan and Afghanistan in diverse areas of cooperation.

The mechanism works through five working groups namely: politico-diplomatic; military-to-military coordination; intelligence cooperation; and economic and refugees.

The session will allow the two sides to review the progress made under the framework since its inaugural session and exchange views on further collaboration in the agreed areas of cooperation.

The inaugural session of the APAPPS was held in Kabul on July 22 last year, where the two sides had agreed to synergise efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation and build trust.

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The Afghan delegation was led by the deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, and the Pakistani side was led by the Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

The Pakistan team was made up of a 28-member multi-departmental, high-level delegation which included representatives from MOFA, SAFRON, Commerce, FBR, Railways,  Communications, Interior, Military and Intelligence which met with their Afghan counterparts in respective working groups.

According to the joint statement issued by the Foreign Office, the inaugural joint meeting of the working groups, the Afghan and Pakistani side assessed prospects for the APAPPS forum that covers all areas of mutual interest including counter terrorism and security, peace and reconciliation, bilateral trade and transit, connectivity, Afghan refugees’ repatriation and promoting people to people contacts.

Following the APAPPS inaugural session, the five working groups held their respective group meetings at the level of relevant ministries and departments.

The working groups, besides discussing important issues in each area, also deliberated on the ToRs for future course of action and the agenda items for their next round of meetings.

The concluding session noted the great importance of APAPPS to deliver on the commitments made under this forum within the mutually agreed timeframe.

In May 2018, the fourth meeting of APAPPS took place at the ministry of foreign affairs in Islamabad.

The delegations were led by then Afghan deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai and Pakistan’s then foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua.

In pursuance of the seven principals agreed in the meeting between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and then Pakistani prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during his visit to Kabul on April 6, the two sides operationalised the APAPPS working groups.

During Abbasi’s visit to Kabul, Pakistan reaffirmed its support to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, the two countries decided to undertake effective actions against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements posing security threats to either of the two countries.

At the same time both countries committed to deny use of their respective territory by any country, network, group or individuals for anti-state activities against either country. They also decided to put in place a joint supervision, coordination and confirmation mechanism through liaison officers for the realisation of the agreed actions.

The two countries also committed to avoid territorial and aerial violations of each other’s territory.

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