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Shah Mehmood visits Kabul,Tehran,Beijing

25 December, 2018

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi arrived in Beijing on Tuesday morning on the third leg of his whirlwind three-day four-nation tour, following visits to Afghanistan and Iran.

The foreign minister's tour to Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia is aimed at taking regional countries on board about Pakistan's fresh push to jumpstart the Afghan reconciliation process.

Qureshi was greeted at the airport by Chinese Foreign Ministry officials and held a meeting with his counterpart Wang Yi.

The two parties discussed bilateral relations, promotion of regional connectivity and important regional and global issues, Radio Pakistan reported. Delegation-level talks were also held between both sides.

Both sides reiterated their determination to adopt a joint course of action for regional peace and stability and to promote connectivity, the report stated.

Qureshi called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor an undertaking of extensive strategic importance for Pakistan and the region. The foreign minister said that CPEC is a reflection of Chinese President Xi Jinping's One Belt One Road vision, and that Pak-China friendship is greatly appreciated both, at a public, as well as government level.

Qureshi visited Kabul on Monday on the first leg of his trip, where he held ─ what he described as ─ "productive meetings" with Afghan leadership.

This was Qureshi’s second visit to Kabul in 10 days and third since his appointment as foreign minister in August. He last visited Kabul on Dec 15 for attending the trilateral ministerial meeting with his Chinese and Afghan counterparts.

A Foreign Office statement said that one of the aims of the visit was to brief Afghan President Ghani and Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani on recent developments in the Afghan peace process after a meeting between the Taliban and United States in Dubai, in which Saudi Arabia and UAE also participated.

Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said that the Pakistani and Afghan sides had both agreed during their meeting yesterday to continue the peace process and discussed issues of mutual interest, progress on Afghan peace and reconciliation process as well as bilateral trade.

While apprising the Afghan leadership on Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate an intra-Afghan dialogue, the foreign minister had stressed the need for greater synergy among regional countries to ensure long-term peace and stability in the region. He noted that together Pakistan and Afghanistan with their strategic locations were a bridge for the surrounding regions.

He said that expanding bilateral cooperation for improving relations with all its neighbours, especially with Afghanistan, was the top priority of Pakistan and that the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) was the most effective framework that provided practical avenues to address all issues of mutual interest.

The Afghan foreign ministry in a statement from Kabul said that during the meeting, FM Rabbani had emphasised on direct talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban.

The Afghan leadership, while appreciating Pakistan’s constructive role in furthering the Afghan peace process, agreed to undertake joint steps for strengthening of bilateral ties and agreed to expand cooperation and coordination against terrorism.

"The Afghan leadership also appreciated Pakistan’s initiative for ensuring greater harmony among the neighbours of Afghanistan having serious stakes in peace and stability," the Afghan FO said in a statement.

Later, Qureshi travelled to Tehran from Kabul where he met Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. It was his first official visit to Iran.

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