By Zamir Awan
At a very critical moment, when the US canceled the “Peace-Process” in Afghanistan, a trilateral meeting was held between Afghanistan, China, and Pakistan, on the 7th of September 2019 in Islamabad. It is the third round of trilateral talks and focused on regional peace, cooperation, stability, and friendship. It is worth mentioning that Afghanistan shares common borders with China and Pakistan.
Three, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani, and State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi, joined heads and discussed the regional issue and challenges being faced, the especially emerging situation of the region. They worked hard to reach a common strategy to face the challenges jointly.
While closely following recent developments in the regional, reiterated their support for a politically negotiated settlement of the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan, war may not be an option at all. In this regard, they took note of the cancelation of peace-talks between the U.S. and the Taliban. They expressed hope that intra-Afghan negotiations including direct negotiations between all stakeholders: the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, may begin soon and lead to full cessation of violence bringing ever-lasting peace for the people of Afghanistan. It may end the suffering of 4 decades of unlimited sufferings of common people of Afghanistan. They particularly underlined the need for an inclusive and pure, Afghan-initiated, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process leading to a comprehensive agreement for durable and sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan. Any solution imposed by foreign forces may not be accepted. They agreed to continue their joint efforts for building political mutual trust and supporting reconciliation, regional peace, and stability, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as key areas of the trilateral cooperation. All these three nations are the victim of extremism and terrorism.
Their commitment to further strengthening relations, exploring new ways modes of deepening cooperation, including advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) and other regional common economic initiatives. It was agreed to explore 'China-Afghanistan-Pakistan plus' cooperation, as well as working towards promoting trade and connectivity projects between Afghanistan and Pakistan, such as Kabul-Peshawar Motorway to facilitate the connectivity between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the future, Afghanistan may be included in CPEC and become beneficiary of BRI and may also be granted membership in SCO.
China, under BRI its mega initiatives, is ready to support the construction of refrigeration storages, clinic centers, drinking water supply schemes and immigration reception centers at crossing points between Afghanistan and Pakistan to facilitate the movement of people and trade activities among the two countries. It will generate unlimited opportunities for economic activities, people to people contact and promote understandings, eliminates misunderstandings and mistrust.
Games and Sports will be promoted among each other and bring the three nations close to each other. Public diplomacy will be promoted. Archaeologists' Exchange Program, will be organized to explore cooperation among the Red Crescent Societies of the three countries, besides regularly undertaking exchange projects in the areas of media, think-tanks, sports, joint training, etc.
China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan reiterated their strong resolve to fight a common enemy, terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations and without any distinction. They reaffirmed the commitment of not letting any terrorist organization, element or individual use their soils against any country. It was also decided to work towards effectively implementing the trilateral MoU on Cooperation in Counter-terrorism, signed at the 2nd round of Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue held in Kabul, and agreed on a list of initial projects of enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation in this regard. They recognized the need to continue their joint fight against ETIM and its supporters and facilitators. The three sides committed to promoting measures to counter terrorist's logistical capabilities including terror-financing, recruitment, and training.
It is decided to hold the fourth round of this dialogue in Beijing next year in 2020. The first was held in Beijing in 2017, Second in Kabul in 2018, the third was in Islamabad on 7 September 2019. It seems it will become a regular routine feature of promoting close contacts among three friendly nations.
Author: Prof. Engr., Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Academician, Researcher, Peace-activist, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), Islamabad, Pakistan. E-mail: email@example.com)
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