ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan, China and Afghanistan aim to defeat terrorism together as they gather in Islamabad today (September 7) to discuss the Afghanistan issue.

The third round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue will be chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The meeting aims to advance the ongoing peace talks in Afghanistan which are aimed at catalysing an end to the 17-year invasion of the country by US troops.

US is not in favour of going into the dialogue process led by China but Pakistan differs with the idea. Pakistan has already told the US that China’s role on Afghan peace would not undermine the US. Islamabad has also been trying to convince Washington that Beijing was naturally a stakeholder in the regional peace.

A foreign ministry statement said: “The 3rd round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue will be held on 07 September 2019 in Islamabad under the Chairmanship of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi, and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani, will lead their respective delegations.”

The agenda of the dialogue, it said, “focuses on political relations and the peace process, security cooperation and counter terrorism, and development cooperation and connectivity.”

The 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 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,” said the statement.

This week, FM Qureshi said Afghanistan there was hope of breakthrough in parleys between Afghan Taliban and the United States.

He said the world was convinced of the wisdom of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s conviction that there was no military solution to Afghanistan and that dialogue and reconciliation efforts are the only way forward.

He said Pakistan will continue to facilitate the Afghan peace process as part of shared responsibility.

About the Pakistan-China relations, the Foreign Minister said their tied were an anchor for regional stability. He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor holds the prospects of transforming Pakistan and the entire region. He added: “Our task is to promote inherent merits of the corridor and the benefits it will accrue.” The trilateral meeting, officials said, will also discuss expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan.

Pakistan was among the countries that met in Geneva, Switzerland last November on Afghan reforms and peace prospects in the region. During the two-day conference, Afghan leaders and international diplomats evaluated whether strategies and aid offered to Afghanistan were helping resolve the quagmire created by the prolonged war, paving way for the withdrawal of foreign troops.