• publish: 14 May 2018
  • time: 12:24 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 6791

Islamabad, Kabul hold key talks on bilateral engagement today

Senior Pakistani and Afghan officials will meet in Islamabad today (Monday) to review progress on agreements in a series of talks under a bilateral mechanism, Pakistani and Afghan officials said Sunday.

It will be the 4th round of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) – a joint action plan for cooperation in key areas of counter-terrorism and for reduction of violence and promotion of peace and reconciliation involving repatriation of refugees and joint economic development.

Both sides will hold follow up discussions on the modality to deploy liaison officers (LOs) in both countries to share information about the presence and activities of suspects and to take action, a source told Daily Times.

The deployment of LOs, who will be military officials at the brigadier or colonel level, could be deployed initially at the embassies in Islamabad and Kabul for joint supervision, coordination and confirmation mechanism.

“If the LOs system makes progress, LOs could later be deployed at GHQ in Pakistan and Defence Ministry in Kabul,” a source privy to the Pak-Afghan discussions said.

The LOs deployment will be in line with the seven key principles of the APAPPS as the two countries have agreed to undertake effective actions against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements posing security threats to either of the two countries.

An official says that Pakistan has not agreed to Afghanistan’s quest for a third-party verification of actions on both sides as it will set a new precedent, he said, adding that Pakistan’s stance has convinced the Afghan side and they are now seemed agreed on bilateral engagement.

Both sides will explore ways to remove differences that have created hurdles in the formation of five joint working groups of military, intelligence, diplomats, trade and officials of the ministries dealing with the refugees’ issue, he said.

Afghanistan had raised objections on the language the document, including the use of border in as Kabul calls the border as “Durand Line.”

“In order to avoid any controversy and delay in the formation of the joint working groups, Pakistan proposed the use of the word ‘territory on both sides’,” he said.

The working groups will be established for full implementation of the APAPPS and the mutually reinforcing principles.

This will be the first meeting of the APAPPS after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed on key principles to finalize the mechanism during their meeting in Kabul in early April.

Pakistani delegation will be led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Afghan deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai will lead his side.

The issue of cross-border shelling is also one of the issues, both sides will be discussing during the talks.

Pakistan believes that under APAPPS framework, a sustainable and long-lasting solution to the problems can be achieved by both sides.

Meanwhile, a trilateral dialogue involving China, Afghanistan and Pakistan is taking place in Islamabad on May 15.

Scholars and stakeholders from various backgrounds will take part in the first round of the track-II/I.5 dialogue, organizers said Sunday.

The umbrella theme of the conference is “China, Afghanistan and Pakistan: Constructive Engagement for Sustainable Growth”.

The Dialogue is being organized by the Regional Peace Institute (RPI) with the support of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad.

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