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Prosperity & economic development of Pakistan, China & Afghanistan are inter-linked: FM Qureshi

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday virtually attended the 4th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue held in Beijing.

In the dialogue, three foreign ministers including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Wang Yi, and Mohammad Hanif Atmar had in-depth exchanges of views on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and the counter-terrorism and security cooperation.

The following are Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s remarks at the 4th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue;

“Let me start by thanking State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for hosting today’s meeting.

I also welcome Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar for joining us.

I am confident that today’s deliberations will further solidify our trilateral cooperation and open new avenues for future engagement.

Pakistan has always strived to strengthen its relations with China and Afghanistan in the bilateral as well as regional context.

Pakistan attaches huge importance to trilateral mechanism between China, Afghanistan and Pakistan for enhancing cooperation and coordination in the areas of shared interest.

We strongly believe that peace, prosperity and economic development of our three countries are inter-linked.

About four years ago, our three countries had conceived this trilateral forum for discussing collaborative efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, enhancing security and counter-terrorism cooperation and deepening regional connectivity and shared economic development through meaningful projects.

Since then, we have successfully moved forward this forum through a gradual, phased but consistent approach.

Our meeting today is taking place at an important timeframe. The US and NATO forces have already started withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. This has important implications.

In our view, while the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan entails serious security challenges, it also offers a unique opportunity for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and moving the country from a perpetual internal conflict to an era of peace and stability.

We should, therefore, explore how our three neighborly countries can work together to deal with the evolving situation in an effective manner and steer it towards achieving our shared objective of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

Pakistan, China and Afghanistan are located in a region which has immense opportunities for fostering mutually beneficial economic and development cooperation.

Our three geographically linked countries straddle historical routes traversing east-west and north-south.

Durable peace and stability in Afghanistan will lead to a conducive environment for harnessing the true potential of regional connectivity and further deepening economic inter-dependence through use of innovation and technological advances.

Such an outcome will surely contribute to progress, welfare and better lives for the peoples of our countries.

I am hopeful that the deliberations of our trilateral meeting today on all the agenda items will be constructive, meaningful and result-oriented.”

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