ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said Pakistan attached huge importance to its trilateral mechanism with China and Afghanistan for enhancing cooperation and coordination in the areas of shared interest.
In his virtual address at the 4th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, the foreign minister said the foreign minister said Pakistan had always strived to strengthen its relations with China and Afghanistan in the bilateral as well as regional context.
The foreign minister said, “We strongly believe that peace, prosperity and economic development of our three countries are inter-linked.” About four years ago, he said, three countries had conceived this trilateral forum for discussing collaborative efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, enhancing security and counter-terrorism cooperation and deepening regional connectivity and shared economic development through meaningful projects.
Qureshi went on to say that since then, Pakistan had successfully moved forward this forum through a gradual, phased but consistent approach. He said the United States and NATO forces had already started withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
He said while the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan entailed serious security challenges, it also offered a unique opportunity for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and moving the country from a perpetual internal conflict to an era of peace and stability.
“We should, therefore, explore how our three neighborly countries can work together to deal with the evolving situation in an effective manner and steer it towards achieving our shared objective of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” he said.
The foreign minister said Pakistan, China and Afghanistan were located in a region which had immense opportunities for fostering mutually beneficial economic and development cooperation. “Our three geographically linked countries straddle historical routes traversing east-west and north-south,” he added.
Qureshi further said durable peace and stability in Afghanistan would lead to a conducive environment for harnessing the true potential of regional connectivity and further deepening economic inter-dependence through use of innovation and technological advances.
“Such an outcome will surely contribute to progress, welfare and better lives for the peoples of our countries,” he said.
Qureshi expressed the confidence that the deliberations of trilateral meeting on all the agenda items would be constructive, meaningful and result-oriented. Qureshi thanked State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for hosting the meeting and welcomed Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar for joining.