ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani Saturday agreed to continue their joint efforts for building political mutual trust and supporting reconciliation, regional peace and stability, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as key areas of the trilateral cooperation.

A joint statement issued here after the 3rd Session of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ dialogue, the three sides particularly underlined the need for an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process leading to a comprehensive agreement for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“Based on respect for the will of the Afghan people, while appreciating the efforts made by the Government of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan expressed their continued support for Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process as well as for the efforts towards reconstruction and economic development in the country,” it added.

The three sides condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, Konduz, Baghlan and Farah, which have taken many innocent civilian lives including women and children.

China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, while closely following recent developments in the regional situation, reiterated their support for a politically negotiated settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan.

In this regard, they took note of the talks between the US and the Taliban. They expressed hope that intra-Afghan negotiations including direct negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban begin soon and lead to full cessation of violence bringing lasting peace for the people of Afghanistan.

“The three sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their relations, exploring new ways of deepening cooperation, including advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) and other regional economic initiatives,” it said.

The three sides agreed to explore ‘China-Afghanistan-Pakistan plus’ cooperation, as well as working towards promoting trade and connectivity projects between Afghanistan and Pakistan, such as Kabul-Peshawar Motorway.

The three sides welcomed the progress made on implementation of projects agreed under the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Practical Cooperation Dialogue (CAPPCD). They agreed to continue cooperation in the fields of economic development, capacity building, improving livelihood and people-to-people exchanges.

The statement said China expressed its readiness to support construction of refrigeration storages, clinic centers, drinking water supply schemes and immigration reception centers at crossing points between Afghanistan and Pakistan to facilitate the movement of people and trade activities among the two countries.

China, Afghanistan and Pakistan reiterated their strong resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and without any distinction. “They reaffirmed commitment of not letting any terrorist organization, element or individual use their soils against any country.”

They also decided to work towards effectively implementing the trilateral MoU on Cooperation in Counter-terrorism, signed at the 2nd round of Trilateral foreign ministers’ dialogue held in Kabul, and agreed on a list of initial projects of enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation in this regard.

They recognized the need to continue their joint fight against the terrorist outfit East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and its supporters and facilitators.

The three sides committed to promote measures to counter terrorists’ logistical capabilities including terror-financing, recruitment and training.

The three sides welcomed the plans to hold a trilateral friendly cricket tournament among junior cricket teams of the three countries in Beijing in October 2019.

They also agreed to arrange a capacity building workshop of young diplomats from the three countries under the Junior Diplomats Exchange Program to be held in Pakistan in October 2019.

The three foreign ministers agreed to organize an Archaeologists’ Exchange Program, explore cooperation among the Red Crescent Societies of the three countries, besides regularly undertaking exchange projects in the areas of media, think-tanks, sports, joint training etc.

The three countries decided to hold the next round of Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Beijing in 2020.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi Foreign reiterated their countries’ full support to Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process in Afghanistan and stressed upon continuation of the recent peace negotiations to bring durable peace in the war-torn country.

Addressing a joint press conference along with his Chinese and Afghan counterparts, Qureshi said they held a very fruitful meeting in which they had discussed various areas of cooperation including the regional connectivity. This trilateral platform proved very helpful for future engagements, he added.

The discussions would be helpful for thrashing out future mechanism of close cooperation and enhanced engagements among the three countries, he added.

The minister while referring to the recent meetings of Prime Minister Imran Khan with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said considerable improvement in Pak-Afghan ties had been achieved.

He said they had agreed upon to make this useful mechanism of close cooperation further beneficial through future interactions.

Qureshi termed China ‘a good neigbour and trusted strategic partner’ and said ties between Pakistan and China had been growing considerably.

Reiterating Pakistan’s full support to the peace process in Afghanistan, he further said US-Taliban framework agreement could ensure sustainable peace in Afghanistan and the region.

The minister said the international community had recognised and acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism and facilitation for the Afghan peace process.

Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi Foreign said Afghan peace process offered a major opportunity to all segments of Afghan society to seize upon it and make the dialogue process a success.

He noted that solidarity and durable peace in Afghanistan was key to peace and development of the whole region.

The Chinese minister also cautioned that the peace process was passing through a critical stage and the foreign troops withdrawal should be made in orderly manner, paving way for further stability.

He stressed that this Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process should be acceptable to all Afghans. He said efforts should be made to ensure that Afghanistan should not again become a sanctuary of terrorism.

Yi also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in the Afghan peace process and said the leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan had shown political courage.

He highlighted the areas in which the three countries could further enhance their cooperation. The Chinese foreign minister said being an international partner for development, China was ready to undertake major connectivity projects connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said China and Pakistan had shown strong support to Afghan people in determining their own future.

He called upon Taliban to express their genuine desire for peace by halting recent wave of attacks on Afghan cities.

Rabbani further stressed upon building of this close cooperation among the three countries with his government’s focus on transport and energy sectors.