Now is the Time for Islamabad to Show Its Will: Afghanistan Stands Firm at Af-Pak-China Trilateral Meet

The second Trilateral meeting between foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and China took place on Saturday in the city of Kabul.

In a joint press conference, the ministers of all three countries had various remarks to present.

The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi firstly confirmed that Pakistan is set to host the next trilateral meeting with Afghanistan and China.

Mr Wang Yi also admitted that in the meet, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to solve their problems through peaceful ways. He also added that “The three sides agreed to fight jointly against terrorist groups”.

Addressing the press conference, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmooh Qureshi remarked that “I came here to make trust bridge and reach peace and stability, any improvement in Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan”. He also added that he was present to boost the bilateral trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr Qureshi most importantly assured that the three parties in the trilateral meet signed an agreement to fight jointly against terrorism. Commenting that Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have all been victims of terrorism, the foreign minister of Pakistan insisted that all the stakeholders “sit and consider our concerns and capacities”.

He noted how the people are being killed “on both side of the border”, adding that “the time has come to stop pointing fingers and to rather join hands for a future, for our people, for our children, for prosperity, for the region”

Explaining further on the above point, he said “By blaming, no one moves ahead, we have to stop pointing fingers at each other that why I am here to build mutual political trusts and facilitate the peace process of Afghanistan”.

Lately, it has been admitted by several leaders from US, Pakistan and Afghanistan that there is no military solution to the instability in Afghanistan. Emphasising on this point, Qureshi said “People who believed in a military solution are today talking of a dialogue and political settlement”.

“I am here sincerely trying to engage with the government and the people of Afghanistan, it is in Pakistan’s interest that Afghanistan is peaceful and stable. Let us not stick to the past. If you want Pakistan to act and act for reconciliation, then stop pointing fingers at Pakistan”, Qureshi conceded.

Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani assured that “We expect to see the outcome of our meeting in coming months or weeks” as the announcement of an agreement between the 3 on combating terrorism was made.

Mr Rabbani however remarked that Pakistan should support peace process in Afghanistan as is peace beneficial for all the regional countries, “As we have already said, peace in Afghanistan means peace in the region and Pakistan. Pakistan also accepts this principle. Now is the time for Islamabad to show its will.”

“One of the main goals of the trilateral meeting is to work for peace and stability in Afghanistan”, Rabbani added.

Rabbani enumerated on the demands that Afghanistan is pursuing in such a format of a trilateral dialogue: “Three demands that we pursue at this tripartite meeting is security and counter-terrorism, economic development & regional connectivity and consensus on an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.”

He also added that security and fight against terrorism as well as creating political reconciliation were discussed in the meeting and and that Afghanistan called for Pakistan and China’s cooperation in Afghanistan’s peace process and that “now the time has come to show practical cooperation.”

China’s foreign minister Wang Li assured in the press conference that Afghanistan and Pakistan are strategic partners of China. Mr Li also called on Taliban to accept the offer of peace talks which the Taliban have been refusing in a direct confrontation with Afghan government.

“Cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China is key for peace in Afghanistan” Wang Li insisted.

Finally, Mr Li conceded that “Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to improve bilateral ties”.

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