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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Monday exchanged views on the political and security situation in Afghanistan, and humanitarian assistance being extended by them to the war-torn country. China’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan Ambassador Yue Xiaoyong who called on Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood also discussed other issues of mutual interest.

Mehmood underscored Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and connected Afghanistan. He highlighted the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, including Pakistan’s relief efforts in the wake of the devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan on 22 June 2022.

He also stressed the importance of de-freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves and facilitation of banking operations to ease the economic hardships of the Afghan people and help build a sustainable economy.

He further underlined the importance for the Afghan side to address the international community’s expectations regarding inclusivity; respect for the rights of all Afghans, including girls’ education; and effective counter-terrorism measures.

In the context of regional connectivity, both sides exchanged views on the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan to promote economic development and prosperity.

The foreign secretary underscored that the international community’s focus should not be diverted from the dire situation in Afghanistan owing to events taking place elsewhere.

While emphasizing continued constructive engagement and practical cooperation with the interim Afghan authorities, the foreign secretary highlighted the central role of platforms such as troika plus and six neighbouring countries of Afghanistan in advancing shared goals.

Ambassador Xiaoyong appreciated the important and constructive role played by Pakistan in the context of Afghanistan. Both sides agreed that only a peaceful, stable and connected Afghanistan could act as a fulcrum for enhanced regional trade and connectivity.

Earlier, the envoy held talks with his counterpart, the special assistant to the prime minister Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq (retired).

Both sides took stock of the evolving situation and discussed humanitarian assistance, infrastructure development, as well as trade and transit initiatives.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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