Press Trust of india

Ahead of SCO summit, China says will work closely with member states on Afghan issues

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Beijing: Ahead of the SCO summit, China on Thursday said it is ready to have close communication and coordination with the bloc’s member states and jointly work on Afghanistan to build an open and inclusive political structure in the war-torn country controlled by the Taliban.

The eight-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) grouping of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan will hold its 21st summit on Friday at Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe.

Afghanistan is an observer in the SCO.

The SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) comprising Russia and Central Asian States will hold a joint summit meeting on Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Chinese President Xi Jinping would address the summit via video link.

Asked about the SCO and CSTO summit on Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that “the Afghan situation bears on regional security and stability”.

“Members of the SCO and CSTO are all close neighbours of Afghanistan and they all actively support the peace and reconstruction and reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” he said.

“China is a member of the SCO which is ready to have close communication and coordination with relevant countries, jointly work on Afghanistan to build an open and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, make a clean break with all forms of terrorist groups and live on friendly terms with other countries.

“We are ready to continue to have good neighbourliness and friendly cooperation with Afghanistan, and play a constructive role in its peace and reconstruction,” he said.

China, which has kept its embassy open in Kabul along with Pakistan and Russia, has maintained close communication with the Taliban’s interim government though it has not formally recognised it.

Beijing has announced a USD 31-million aid for the war-torn country.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US’ complete troop withdrawal on August 31 after a costly two-decade war. This forced Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country to the UAE.

The Taliban insurgents stormed across Afghanistan and captured all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.

Thousands of Afghan nationals and foreigners have fled the country to escape the new Taliban regime and to seek asylum in different nations, including the US and many European nations, resulting in total chaos and deaths.

On the SCO, Zhao said that the grouping has transcended differences in social systems, histories and cultures, and successfully found a path of cooperation and development of a new type of regional organisation.

The SCO members “have played active roles in regional and international affairs and vital theoretical and practical exploration for building a new type of international relations and a community with shared future for mankind,” he said.

At the upcoming SCO summit, President Xi will review the success of the SCO with leaders of other countries, have an in-depth exchange of views on SCO cooperation, and major regional and international issues, and approve a series of new key cooperation documents, and charter the course for the SCO going forward, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

“We believe that with the advancement of the heads of states, the SCO will make new progress at new starting points and stay committed to building an even closer community for a shared future for the benefit of people of all countries in the region,” he added.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will pay a two-day official visit to Tajikistan to attend the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit in Dushanbe.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, is an economic and security bloc which has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The SCO also has four Observer states — Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan and six Dialogue Partners — Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

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