Pakistan, Afghanistan agree to set up high-level bilateral mechanism for coordination

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Friday met Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Tashkent.

According to a joint statement issued by the Pakistan’s Foreign Office, both the leaders agreed to constitute a high-level bilateral mechanism for consultation and coordination on various important issues relating to bilateral relations and cooperation including security, movement of people and vehicles between the two countries and other relevant issues.

The proposed mechanism will be co-chaired by Sartaj Aziz and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and with the participation of the National Security Advisers of the two countries. It will also have a joint technical working group to deal with the concerns of both countries, the statement said.

The main purpose of this mechanism would be not only to address and resolve issues of concern to both sides through amicable means but also to prevent the recurrence of violent incidents like the ones witnessed recently in Torkham.

The two sides reaffirmed respect for each other’s territorial integrity and adherence to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

Aziz and Foreign Minister Rabbani reiterated the mutual desire for strengthening bilateral relations for promoting peace, stability, counter terrorism and economic progress of both the countries. Towards this end, it was agreed to enhance mutual engagement in diverse areas to deepen cooperation.

The two sides specifically expressed their firm commitment to continuing serious efforts towards eliminating the scourge of terrorism which poses a grave threat to the peace and security of the two countries and the region. In this regard, they emphasised the need for close cooperation and coordination between the two countries at all levels.

While discussing bilateral relations, the two sides stressed the need for continuing joint efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan through timely and concrete actions resulting in tangible outcomes including in the framework of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group process.

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