Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met his counterparts from China and Russia in Dushanbe on Wednesday and discussed with them the latest developments in Afghanistan as well as other regional and bilateral issues.
In the separate meetings on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers (SCO-CFM) meeting, Qureshi briefed Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Pakistan’s consistent efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process.
During the meeting, Qureshi and Wang took stock of existing fraternal ties with a view to further enhancing cooperation in all areas of mutual interests, Foreign Office said in a statement issued here. They agreed to meet in near future and continue close coordination.
Qureshi remarked that Pakistan and China shared common understanding on various regional and international issues. There was a consensus among both sides that a close coordinated approach was extremely critical to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan.
In the meeting with Lavrov, the regional security situation, particularly Afghanistan came under discussion. Reiterating continued support, Qureshi emphasised close coordination between the two countries to help achieve negotiated political settlement in the war-torn country.
The Foreign Office said that the two sides reviewed the implementation status of the decisions taken during Lavrov’s visit to Pakistan in April and agreed to work closely to further strengthen bilateral relations in all spheres.
Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov and Qureshi discussed the development of the situation in Afghanistan on the sidelines of the SCO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Dushanbe, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
“During the talks, they discussed the current regional and international issues, focusing on the situation in Afghanistan. Both sides stressed the need to expand the multifaceted bilateral cooperation further, namely in the counterterrorism sphere and in the trade-economic sphere,” the report added.
Meanwhile, Qureshi also called on Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon and expressed Pakistan’s desire to strengthen relations with the Central Asian state in diverse fields under the Pakistan government’s ‘Vision Central Asia’ policy.
Underlining that absence of connectivity that impeded strong ties, Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s interest to work with Central Asian Republics on rail, road and energy projects which would link Central Asia Republics (CARS) with Pakistan. He added that CPEC provided an ideal opportunity in this regard.
On the regional security situation, the foreign minister emphasised that withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan had opened new challenges and opportunities. He expressed the hope that SCO would continue to play its due role in support of peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
Earlier, addressing at the SCO-CFM meeting Qureshi said the key to unlock the geo-economic potential of the SCO region laid in greater connectivity among the member states and proposed transition to national currencies by setting up SCO Development Bank.
He expressed serious concern over the unfolding situation in the wake of withdrawal of the US and NATO troops and in the absence of a peace deal. “A spectre of chaos and escalated conflict looms large that would also give space to the ‘spoilers’ who wish to see the reign of instability in Afghanistan.”
On regional security, he said the SCO-led mechanisms had resulted in significant success in dealing with the common challenges of terrorism, separatism, extremism, illicit trafficking of drugs, as well as transnational organised crime.
Qureshi said the SCO was a vital platform to forge closer ties with regional partners and to realise the potential of the emerging confluence between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Eurasian Economic Union. He said the CPEC supplemented SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic integration.
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