Foreign Ministers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China will hold a virtual trilateral meeting, on Thursday. The meeting aims to discuss the present stalemate in the war-torn country, Afghanistan. The meeting comes at a time when the US and NATO ramp up troop withdrawals from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Previously, the most recent trilateral meeting took place in September 2019. The upcoming meeting is taking place virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting is going to focus on how to break the present gridlock in the peace efforts.
Trilateral Meeting – Example of Diplomatic Settlement in Afghanistan
Pakistan is continuing its efforts to find a diplomatic settlement to the Afghan war. According to a Foreign Office official, the trilateral meeting is one such example. The three-way talks, according to the official, will examine the situation in Afghanistan and explore possible alternatives for moving forward.
The situation in Afghanistan is uncertain as the United States prepares to remove its troops well ahead of President Joe Biden’s September 11 deadline. The reduction of US and NATO forces will now be completed by July 4, 2021.
However, the absence of a peace agreement has heightened fears of instability in the war-torn country, which has seen an increase in violence.
Meeting Between Pakistan and Afghanistan
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Speaker of the Afghan Wolesi Jirga Mir Rahman Rahmani met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
The Foreign Minister Qureshi repeated Pakistan’s support for a peaceful, stable, democratic, and sovereign Afghanistan. He emphasised that the two countries’ strong familial connections are grounded on centuries-old relationships and affinities amongst their peoples.
Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of parliamentary interactions in this regard, as well as the necessity to develop bilateral connections.
Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s positive contributions to the Afghan Peace Process. He restated Pakistan’s long-held position that there is no military solution to the Afghan problem and that the only way forward is through a negotiated political settlement. The Foreign Minister emphasised the need for a decrease in violence that leads to a truce.
Moreover, he expressed the hope that the Afghan parties will grab this historic opportunity and work out an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement for Afghanistan and the region’s long-term peace and stability. FM Qureshi underlined the importance of being wary of “spoilers” both inside and outside Afghanistan. He also stressed the need of creating a positive and supportive environment to achieve common objectives.
Lastly, FM Qureshi highlighted the importance of using existing platforms, such as; the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), to resolve all bilateral issues also. He again reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the safe and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland, as part of a time-bound and well-resourced plan backed by the international community.