Pakistan, China, Russia want responsible US exit from region
Source : Pakistan Today Date : April 05, 2013
Pakistan, China and Russia are perturbed over the stalled Afghan reconciliation process and both world powers as well as Islamabad want a “responsible” US exit from the war-torn country.
The observations came in a trilateral dialogue on Afghanistan held in Beijing between Pakistan, China and Russia on April 3.
According to diplomatic sources, there was a consensus among officials of three states at the dialogue that the stalled Afghanistan reconciliation process must be pushed forward and all key stakeholders, including the US and Afghanistan, should support the efforts to reach out to the Afghan Taliban for peace dialogue.
A source seeking anonymity said Islamabad, Beijing and Moscow also wanted the US to ensure peace and stability in the war-ravaged country before the departure of its troops from Afghanistan, which was slated for 2014.
“Pakistan, China and Russia, all the three states wants a responsible US exit from Afghanistan,” the source said.
He said that there was consensus among the three countries that in case there were no responsible US exit, Afghanistan could again plunge into war and strife that would be detrimental for the regional peace and stability as well.
With its eyes fixed on 2014 for the smooth departure of American troops, the Obama administration is eager to hold peace talks with the Taliban and wants to see the Mullah Omar-led Taliban insurgents talking to the Afghan government.
Taliban, however, prefer talks with Washington over negotiations with the Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai, but they (Taliban) also want the US to first release some of their key leaders held at Guantanamo Bay prison.
Another reason for the ‘sluggish’ Afghanistan reconciliation process is President Karzai’s opposition to Taliban talks to all Afghan groups and he rather wants a dialogue only between his government’s representatives and the Taliban leaders.
Afghan authorities’ recent accusations that Pakistan was engaged in military constructions near the Afghan border have led to fresh feuds between the neighboring countries and observers are of the view that this development could also prove to be harmful to the efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
According to the Pakistani Foreign Office, the dialogue between Pakistan, China and Russia was chaired by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui, director general of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, and attended by the Russian delegation led by Ambassador Zamir Kabulov, Special Representative of the president of the Russian Federation for Afghanistan and the Pakistani delegation led by Ambassador Syed Ibne Abbas, additional secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Zhang Yesui, deputy minister of foreign affairs of China, also met the Russian and Pakistani delegations.
“The three parties had an exchange of views on Afghanistan issue, the regional situation and international and regional cooperation on Afghanistan,” FO Spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said.
He said the three sides agreed that the changing situation in Afghanistan concerned the regional stability and security.
The dialogue of China, Russia and Pakistan as close neighbours to Afghanistan on the issue helps promote the understanding, mutual trust and coordination among the three parties.
The three sides agreed to make consented efforts to safeguard peace, stability and security in Afghanistan and the region, and support the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” reconciliation process.
“The three parties also agreed to support the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in playing a greater role in the Afghanistan issue and discuss increased cooperation on counter-terrorism and anti-narcotics within the framework of the Istanbul Process,” Aizaz said.
Pakistan and China also held a second round of bilateral consultation on regional situation, including Afghanistan, in Beijing on April 2.
The consultation was co-chaired by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui, director general of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and Ambassador Syed Ibne Abbas.
The two sides agreed that achieving political reconciliation was the critical step towards peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“The two sides reaffirmed their support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. The two sides agreed that the international community should remain constructively engaged with Afghanistan and create favourable conditions for reconciliation, respecting the history, cultural traditions and sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan,” Aizaz said.