Pakistan reaffirms commitment to further deepen its ties with Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood has reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to further deepen close brotherly relations with Afghanistan based on mutual trust to the benefit of the two peoples, the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency reported.

During the first review session of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) held in Islamabad on June 10, 2019, Sohail Mahmood also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous Afghanistan, at peace within and at peace with its neighbours.

The foreign secretary also emphasized that durable peace and stability could be achieved only through an inclusive, Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.

In the first review session of the APAPPS, Sohail Mahmood and Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman led their respective multi-agency delegations in the meeting.

It would be recalled that APAPPS was established in May 2018 to provide a comprehensive and structured framework for institutional engagement in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The framework comprises five Working Groups focused on Politico-Diplomatic, Military-to-Military Coordination, Intelligence Cooperation, Economy and Refugee Issues.

During the meeting, the five Working Groups, led by their respective Chairs, reviewed progress made in their areas. Action plans for future cooperation with focus on further expanding existing cooperation among relevant institutions were also discussed. In this regard, the importance of enhancing linkages in the political, diplomatic, security, trade, economic, cultural, educational, sports and people-to-people domains was underscored.

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It was agreed that APAPPS was the best forum to overcome common challenges and to take bilateral relations to the next level. The need to optimally utilize this mechanism was, therefore, emphasized. Closer cooperation through other established institutional mechanisms, including APTTCA and JEC, was also underlined in order to realize the rich potential of the two countries to advance the objectives of economic development and long-term prosperity.

To maintain a steady momentum under this structured engagement, it was agreed that the APAPPS Working Groups will hold meetings over the next few months.

It was further decided that the next review meeting will be held in Kabul in December 2019.