Islamabad, 8 May 2023 (TDI): On May 6th, 2023, in Islamabad, Pakistan, the 5th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue took place with the participation of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of Pakistan, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang of China, and the Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi of Afghanistan.
During the meeting, the three Foreign Ministers emphasized the importance of trilateral cooperation to promote the region’s peace, stability, and prosperity. They acknowledged that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is vital for the benefit of the region.
They expressed their determination to expand their collaboration in the political, security, and development sectors based on mutual respect, equal consultation, and mutual benefits.
The Foreign Ministers highlighted the necessity of addressing security challenges that threaten regional and global stability, including organized crimes and drug trafficking, which hinder the economic prosperity of the entire region.
Moreover, they agreed to cooperate and coordinate their efforts to tackle these challenges. They urged the international community to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation while providing essential resources, equipment, and technical support to the relevant countries.
During a meeting, the representatives from three sides emphasized the significance of preventing any individual, group, or party from using their territories to threaten regional security or conduct terrorist activities.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and all others were included in this statement. They all agreed to avoid meddling in the internal affairs of Afghanistan while promoting peace, stability, and reconstruction in the country.
The ministers acknowledged the dire need to revitalize the Afghan economy and generate economic activity within the country. They emphasized the importance of exploring pragmatic ways to achieve this goal, which includes supporting the reconstruction of Afghanistan and exploring investment opportunities to create jobs and foster industrialization.
The three parties involved have emphasized the importance of advancing both “hard connectivity” in infrastructure and “soft connectivity” in norms and standards. Additionally, they have agreed to further explore measures to facilitate the movement of people and trade activities between their respective countries. One such measure is the enhancement of transit trade through the Gwadar Port.
Solidarity was expressed with the Afghan people, and the ministers stressed the urgency of providing humanitarian aid to bridge the funding gaps for humanitarian operations. They also made it clear that such assistance must be given without any political considerations and must continue in a sustained manner to meet the pressing needs of the Afghan people.
The three ministers expressed their satisfaction with the existing trilateral cooperation and committed to conducting exchange and training programs, as well as strengthening people-to-people exchanges. These efforts will be in line with the List of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Practical Cooperation Projects, which was adopted by the Foreign Ministers during this dialogue.
Cooperation in various fields
Furthermore, the three parties have reaffirmed their commitment to continuing their cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as economic development, capacity building, and improving livelihoods. The Ministers have agreed to enhance cooperation in several fields, including agriculture, trade, energy, capacity building, and border management.
In a plea for international cooperation, the Ministers emphasized the need for constructive engagement with the Interim Afghan Government. They commended the efforts of various mechanisms, including the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, for promoting dialogue and cooperation.
Called International Community
The trio urged the international community to assist Afghanistan in developing alternative crops to counter-narcotics and boost sustainable development. In addition, they called for an end to unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan, encouraging countries to return overseas assets for the benefit of the Afghan people.
The Ministers emphasized the importance of economic development and prosperity in Afghanistan, highlighting the need for international assistance in rebuilding the country and strengthening governance to protect the basic rights and interests of all Afghans, including women and children.
The Ministers expressed gratitude to neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan, for hosting millions of Afghan refugees. They urged the international community to provide support for the dignified return and reintegration of refugees into Afghan society. With a commitment to improving conditions for all Afghans, the Ministers called for collaborative efforts to promote stability and prosperity in the region.
The trilateral cooperation mechanism, which encompasses the Director-General Level Practical Cooperation Dialogue, received unanimous agreement from the three sides to persist in their efforts. They also expressed their commitment to strengthening their partnership and cultivating good neighborly relations.
Pakistan received words of appreciation from both China and Afghanistan for their adept handling of the 5th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue. The successful organization of the event and the warm hospitality extended to all participants were acknowledged by the countries involved.