Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of Pakistan, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang of China and Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi of Afghanistan held the 5th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue in Islamabad, Pakistan on May 6, 2023.
Stressing that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan serves the common interest of the region, the Foreign Ministers underscored the critical importance of trilateral cooperation in promoting this objective. The three sides resolved to further deepen and expand their cooperation in the security, development and political domains based on the principles of mutual respect, equal-footed consultation and mutual benefit.
The three sides underscored the need to tackle security challenges posing a serious threat to regional and global security, and directly impacting the stability and economic prosperity of the entire region.
The three sides agreed to coordinate and cooperate in areas including security, organized crimes and drugs smuggling, and called on the international community to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation and provide necessary supplies, equipment and technical assistance in this regard to the relevant countries.
The three sides stressed the need of not allowing any individual, group or party, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and others, to use their territories to harm and threaten regional security and interests, or conduct terrorist actions and activities. All three sides underscored the need to refrain from intervening into internal affairs of Afghanistan and promote Afghan peace, stability and reconstruction.
Underscoring the imperative to generate economic activity within Afghanistan, the Ministers stressed the importance of exploring realistic pathways towards the revival of the Afghan economy. To this end, they agreed to consider further supporting the reconstruction of Afghanistan and exploring trilateral investment possibilities aimed at industrialization and job creation.
Expressing solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, the three sides emphasized the importance of sustained and urgent humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan including the imperative to bridge funding gaps for humanitarian operations. The Ministers underlined that humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan must remain delinked from any political considerations.
The three sides reaffirmed their resolve to fully harness Afghanistan's potential as a hub for regional connectivity. Reaffirming their commitment to further the trilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and jointly extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. They believe that the importance of existing projects, including CASA-1000, TAPI and Trans-Afghan Railways, among others, would enhance regional connectivity and ensure economic uplift and prosperity for the peoples of this region.
The three sides emphasized to push forward the "hard connectivity" in infrastructure and "soft connectivity" in norms and standards, further explore the facilitating measures for the movement of people and trade activities between the three countries. The three sides agreed to enhance transit trade through Gwadar Port.
Expressing satisfaction at the existing trilateral cooperation, the three sides agreed to carry out exchange and training programs and to strengthen people-to-people exchanges by conducting the trilateral programs in line with the List of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Practical Cooperation Projects, adopted by Foreign Ministers in this dialogue.
The three sides reaffirmed to continue cooperation in areas of mutual interest like economic development, capacity building, and improving livelihoods. The Ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields, such as agriculture, trade, energy, capacity building and border management.
The Ministers called upon the international community to engage constructively with the Afghan side. In this regard, they acknowledged the efforts made under the aegis of various mechanisms and formats, particularly the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan, to promote dialogue and constructive engagement with the Interim Afghan Government. The three sides also urged the international community to assist Afghanistan in countering narcotics effectively and develop alternative crops to enhance its capacity for independent and sustainable development.
The three sides urged the relevant countries to lift their unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan and return the assets overseas for the benefit of the Afghan people, and create opportunities for economic development and prosperity in Afghanistan.
Taking note of the Afghan Interim Government's repeated assurances to respect and protect women's rights and interests, the three sides called on the international community to support the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, and help Afghanistan to improve governance and strengthen the capacity building, so as to effectively protect the basic rights and interests of all segments of the Afghan society, including women and children.
The Ministers expressed appreciation to the neighboring countries, Pakistan in particular, for the generous hospitality in hosting millions of Afghan refugees, and called on the international community to provide necessary support and assistance to these countries and Afghanistan for the dignified return and reintegration of refugees into the Afghan society.
The three sides resolved to continue with the trilateral cooperation mechanism, including the Director-General Level Practical Cooperation Dialogue, and forge closer-good neighborly relations and partnership.
China and Afghanistan thanked Pakistan for the successful organization of the 5th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue and its warm hospitality.
(Cover: The 5th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue held in Islamabad, Pakistan, May 6, 2023. /Chinese Foreign Ministry)