Beijing, Mar 31 (PTI) A meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbours on Thursday pressed the Taliban to live up to its promise of forming an inclusive government, crackdown on terror groups and permit girls’ education while China called for reactivating Afghan tripartite mechanism with Pakistan as its seeks to expand its influence in the war-torn country.
The third foreign ministers’ meeting of the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, which was held in Tunxi in east China’s Anhui Province, concluded its two-day meet which was also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the first high-level Russian official to visit Beijing after the Ukraine war.
Separately, China, US and Russia held a troika meeting on Afghanistan in which the US Ambassador to China Nicolas Burns took part as special envoy of his country.
Foreign Ministers or senior representatives of seven countries namely China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended the meeting. India was not invited while Indonesia and Qatar attended the meeting as “guests”.
Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan interim government Amir Khan Muttaqi took part in the meeting.
A joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, said it “noted the importance to achieve national reconciliation in Afghanistan through dialogue and negotiation, and to establish a broad-based and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and sound domestic and foreign policies, and grow friendly relations with all countries, especially its neighbours”.
Despite the promises, the Taliban administration is yet to heed to calls to expand its interim government, though Afghan leaders Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah continued to remain in Kabul.
Last week, the Taliban reversed its promise to permit the girls education saying it would only reopen the schools after a decision over uniforms for female students had been made in accordance with “Sharia law and Afghan tradition”. The move has drawn international condemnation.
“Noted the importance of taking necessary continuing steps in Afghanistan on ensuring women’s rights and children’s education, among others, and called for further actions to be taken to improve people’s livelihood, safeguard the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including ethnic groups, women and children,” the joint statement said.
It also called Taliban to act on its commitments and make pledges to the international community that “the territory of Afghanistan will not pose any threats to the neighbouring countries and no place will be given to terrorist groups on the Afghan territory”.
“Stressed terrorism as a key factor affecting stability in Afghanistan, condemned all forms of violence and terrorist attacks, and reiterated that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, ETIM, TTP, BLA, Jondollah, Jaish-Al-Adl, Jamaat Ansarullah, IMU and other terrorist organisations must not be given any place on the Afghan territory,” the joint statement said.
“Called on relevant Afghan parties to take more visible steps to make a clean break with all forms of terrorist forces, monitor free movement of all terrorist organisations, and to firmly fight and eliminate them including through dismantling of their training camps, to ensure that Afghanistan would never again serve as a breeding ground, safe haven or source of proliferation for terrorism,” it said.
Meanwhile, China which carried on proactive diplomatic engagement after the Taliban took over power has called for revival of the trilateral mechanism of the three countries.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who recently visited Pakistan and Afghanistan, said under the current circumstances, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan should restart the trilateral cooperation mechanism and advance cooperation in the areas of politics, development and security.
Speaking at the meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Tunxi, which was attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan Interim Government Amir Khan Muttaqi, Wang called for building tripartite political mutual trust, support each other’s core concerns and safeguard common interests.
Wang also suggested that China, Afghanistan and Pakistan enhance anti-terrorism cooperation, eradicate the breeding ground of terrorism and achieve long-term stability in the region, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Qureshi said Pakistan supports Afghanistan in strengthening contacts with the world and called for de-freezing of overseas assets of Afghanistan.
For his part, Muttaqi said the Afghan side understands the international community’s concern about the rights and interests of women and children, especially girls’ education, and will promote it actively and step by step.
The interim government has never banned girls from going to school and has reopened 60 per cent of schools so far, he said.
The Afghan side is willing to once again solemnly promise to China and Pakistan and the whole world that terrorists will never be allowed to use the Afghan territory to harm the interests and citizens of other countries, Muttaqi, said adding that Afghanistan actively participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China.
Participants agreed to a mechanism for regular meetings of their special envoys for Afghanistan and three working groups to coordinate on political and diplomatic affairs, economics and humanitarianism, and security and stability.
Uzbekistan will host the fourth foreign ministers’ meeting. PTI KJV PMS — PMS PMS
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Source: The Print