Pak, Afghan, China FMs to meet amid Afghan stalemate

Virtual meeting to discuss ways to break current deadlock in peace efforts


Kamran Yousaf June 01, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Foreign ministers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and China will hold a trilateral meeting on Thursday through video link to discuss the current stalemate in the war-torn country as the US and NATO accelerated their troop withdrawal from the neighbouring country.

The last trilateral meeting was held in September 2019 and the latest meeting being convened virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic would discuss how to break the current deadlock in peace efforts.

Also the meeting comes at a time when relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan hit a setback after Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib made unwarranted remarks against Pakistan.

Islamabad has not only conveyed its strong reservations to Kabul but decided not to hold any bilateral meetings with the Afghan NSA, who one Pakistani official said represents the Indian lobby in the Afghan set up.

"If you speak the language of Ajit Doval, then don't expect any cooperation from us," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

However, despite Pakistan’s strong protest, it is continuing with efforts seeking a political solution to the Afghan war.

The trilateral meeting is manifestation of that approach, according to a Foreign Office official.

The official said the three-way talks would review the situation in Afghanistan and discuss various options for the way forward.

The situation in Afghanistan is precarious amid the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan well ahead of the September 11 deadline given by President Joe Biden. The US and NATO forces would now complete the drawdown by July 4.

However, the absence of a peace deal has further raised fears of instability in the war-ravaged country that has seen a spike in violence.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Wolesi Jirga Speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office on Tuesday.

Also read: Taliban warn Afghanistan’s neighbours against hosting US military bases

The foreign minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for a peaceful, stable, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan. He underlined that strong fraternal ties with Afghanistan were based on centuries-old bonds and affinities between the people of the two countries.

He stressed the need to deepen bilateral ties and underscored the importance of parliamentary interactions in this regard.

Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s constructive efforts for facilitating the Afghan peace process. He reiterated Pakistan’s long-held view that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and that a negotiated political settlement was the only way forward. The foreign minister underlined the imperative of reduction in violence leading to ceasefire.

The foreign minister expressed hope that the Afghan parties would seize this historic opportunity and workout an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

The foreign minister underlined the need to be vigilant about the role of “spoilers”, both within and outside Afghanistan. He stressed the importance of maintaining a constructive and conducive environment for advancing shared goals.

The foreign minister also underlined the need to utilise the available forums including Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) to address all matters of bilateral interest.

Foreign Minister Qureshi emphasised Pakistan’s commitment to safe and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland, in a time-bound and well-resourced roadmap, supported by the international community.

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