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China, Afghanistan, Pakistan agree to promote trilateral ties under BRI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their relations, deepening cooperation and advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) and other regional economic initiatives.

A joint declaration issued after the trilateral dialogue between the three countries in Kabul on Saturday read, they agreed to promote China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral cooperation under the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.

The three sides reiterated their strong resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and without any distinction. The three foreign ministers of the neighbouring countries agreed to jointly continue their efforts for building political mutual trust and support reconciliation, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as the three areas of the trilateral cooperation.

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The three sides reaffirmed their support to the Afghan-owned, and Afghan led inclusive peace process that is fully supported regionally and internationally.

In this regard, China and Pakistan appreciated the efforts of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani especially for the comprehensive peace plans that came out of the second Kabul Process and the Geneva Conferences on Afghanistan, and therefore called on the Afghan Taliban to join the peace process at an early date. While efforts are underway to start the peace process, the three sides called upon the parties concerned to end violence and the loss of innocent lives in Afghanistan.

They agreed to continue economic development cooperation in areas of mutual interest. The three sides will continue to implement and expand the “soft” projects such as exchange and capacity building programs, and explore “hard” projects of livelihood facilities and connectivity.

China expressed its readiness to support Afghanistan and Pakistan in building immigration reception center and drinking water supply schemes at each side of the Ghulam Khan Khel crossing point, and to explore cold storages at Chaman and Spin Boldak.

“China supports enhanced coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan on major energy and connectivity projects including the construction of Quetta-Kandahar railway and Kabul-Peshawar Motorway and Railway,” read the declaration.

The three sides expressed their strong determination not to allow any country, organization or individual to use their respective territories for terrorist activities against any other countries.

The three sides took stock of trilateral cooperation in their fight against terrorism and underlined the need to further strengthen counter-terrorism coordination and cooperation in an effort to combat all terrorist groups and individuals without any discrimination. They also agreed to counter terrorist’ logistical capabilities, deny terrorist use of the internet and to take joint steps for de-radicalization, as well as work together to break the nexus between narco-trade and terror financing.

The three sides agreed that the 3rd Afghanistan-China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue would be held in Islamabad next year.

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