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China, Pak and Afghan sign MoU to cooperate on counter-terrorism

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Beijing, Dec 17 : China, Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to cooperate on counter-terrorism and coordinate to call on the Taliban to return to the negotiating table and to move ahead the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday.

On December 15, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the second China, Afghanistan and Pakistan trilateral foreign ministers' dialogue in Kabul where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on counter-terrorism was signed between the three countries, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said here.

Wang met Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Salahuddin Rabbani, his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts respectively as the three sides agreed to use the existing dialogue mechanism to enhance coordination and promote cooperation, Hua said.

"It is important for the three parties to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation and to enhance communication to move forward the trilateral cooperation," she said.

The three sides will coordinate to call on the Taliban to return to the negotiating table, Hua said.

The three countries will seize the opportunity and move ahead the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process with Afghanistan playing the primary role, she said.

It was decided that Afghanistan and Pakistan will further improve their bilateral ties and engage in more sound interactions and resolve their differences through friendly consultations and avoid hurting bilateral ties, Hua said.

China is a friend to both Afghanistan and Pakistan and would like to play a constructive part to help improve their bilateral ties, the spokesperson said.

"The three countries have also decided to expand soft approach such as exchanges and training, and explore hard projects like livelihood and transportation and infrastructure," Hua said.

It was also decided that the three sides will enhance regional connectivity and economic development within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, she said, adding that Afghanistan could benefit from regional cooperation projects including the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by leveraging its unique geographic advantages.

They agreed to expand counter-terrorism cooperation by implementing the MoU on counter-terrorism signed during this second dialogue to enhance policy coordination, practical cooperation, exchanges and cooperation under the multilateral frameworks, she said.

"China will support Afghanistan and Pakistan in moving forward counter-terrorism cooperation," Hua said.

The Taliban are fighting to flush out international forces and re-establish their regime in Afghanistan after their ouster in 2001.

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