September 06, 2019
ISLAMABAD: As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani heads to Washington for crises talks on the Afghan peace deal, Pakistan is hosting a key trilateral meeting involving China and Afghanistan to discuss “peace process and security cooperation” on Saturday (today).
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is set to host Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani amid reports of imminent peace accord between the US and Afghan Taliban after months of negotiations.
The Kabul administration; however, is apparently upset over the likely Taliban-US deal and because President Ghani is travelling to the US for a meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday.
There are reports that even US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to sign the deal, calling it “surrender”.
Pakistan, which has facilitated the ongoing peace process, has so far not responded to the controversy.
China, which is also an important player, has also not spoken since the differences between Kabul and Washington emerged on the likely peace deal.
Against this backdrop, the trilateral meeting is being seen with considerable interest.
Officials here say the meeting will provide Pakistan an opportunity to share its perspective with both China and Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Qureshi will try to convince his Afghan counterpart that Pakistan has no interest except seeking sustainable peace in Afghanistan, according to the officials familiar with the agenda of the three-way talks.
An official handout issued by the Foreign Office said, “The agenda of the dialogue focuses on political relations and the peace process, security cooperation and counter terrorism, and development cooperation and connectivity.”
China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue was established in 2017 as a means of trilateral cooperation on issues of mutual interest and with a particular focus on cooperation in economic development and peace and security, the statement added.
The first meeting of the dialogue was held in Beijing in 2017 and the second in Kabul in December 2018. The dialogue provides an opportunity to illustrate the joint efforts made by the three countries on political cooperation and facilitating Afghan peace and reconciliation process since the last round.
“Pakistan attaches highest importance to the dialogue as a part of political trust building, development and cooperation and connectivity leading to greater understanding on issues of common concern,” the statement added.