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China, Pakistan, Afghanistan to jointly fight COVID-19

3rd round of Trilateral Vice Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue also agrees to cooperate in Afghan peace process

Aamir Latif   | 07.07.2020
China, Pakistan, Afghanistan to jointly fight COVID-19

KARACHI, Pakistan 

China, Pakistan and Afghanistan on Tuesday agreed to cooperate in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and fight against the novel coronavirus. 

The agreement was reached at the third round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Vice Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue held via video link, according to a joint statement issued by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab and Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood co-chaired the dialogue.

"The three sides conducted in-depth discussions and reached consensus on cooperation against COVID-19, the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, and trilateral cooperation," the statement said.

The three sides, it added, reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening communication and coordination and enhancing mutual trust and cooperation under the trilateral cooperation mechanism.

They also agreed to call on the international community to jointly support the World Health Organization's leading role in coordinating global COVID-19 response, promote international cooperation on joint prevention and control, and safeguard public health security in the region and beyond.

- Afghan dialogue

China and Pakistan, the statement further said, appreciated the efforts by the Afghanistan's government and relevant parties in expediting the exchange of the prisoners to pave the way for the start of the Intra-Afghan negotiations and call for violence reduction and humanitarian cease-fire.

Swap of prisoners was a key component of the landmark peace agreement between Washington and the warring Taliban in February -- a pre-condition of Taliban to start intra-Afghan dialogue.

"China and Pakistan will enhance cooperation with the Afghan government in support of the "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" peace reconciliation process, the launch of Intra-Afghan Negotiations at an early date, support the preservation of the gains since 2001, and looked forward to the early restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan," it went on to say.

Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to further strengthen dialogue and work for continuous improvement of bilateral relations, including through the effective implementation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS).

China will continue to play a constructive role in improving Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, it maintained.

The three sides concurred that the return of Afghan refugees should be part of peace and reconciliation process, and underlined the role of international community for a time-bound and well-resourced roadmap for the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honor.

They urged for an orderly, responsible and condition-based withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan to avoid potential terrorist resurgence.

"The three sides expressed readiness to carry out trilateral practical cooperation in flexible manners, and keep exploring new fields of cooperation, with a view to accumulating outcomes for the 4th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Dialogue," the statement concluded.

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