Pakistan, China, Russia to hold crucial talks on regional issue on Tuesday

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Pakistan, China and Russia will hold the next round of three-way counter-terrorism talks in Moscow on Tuesday on regional issues, primarily focusing on turmoil-hit Afghanistan.

This will be the third meeting of the “Trilateral Working Group on Afghanistan”, following meetings inBeijing and Islamabad.

According to official sources, the meeting will set the ground to establish a wider regional partnership on the issue. It was in the regional stakeholders’ “natural” interests to protect themselves from terrorist spillover, noting that containment efforts should take the form of an “Afghan-regional” project.

Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Islamabad Alexey Dedov said in an interview with Radio Pakistan that “What we see in Afghanistan, unfortunately, is worrisome because it does not bring us optimism. There is a lack of three crucial elements; that is a stable self-sufficient economy, good governance and strong army,” observed Dedov.

A deterioration in security and the emergence of Islamic State affiliates in volatile border regions of Afghanistan have necessitated the trilateral consultations with an aim to form a “regional anti-terrorism structure” to counter “spillover effects” of terrorism, insist Pakistani, Russian and Chinese officials. “In particular we are especially concerned about the growth of Daesh ( the Arabic acronym for IS), which is proliferating its influence to some northern areas of Afghanistan, which directly border territories of our allies in our brotherly Central Asian republics,” he added.

Dedov rejected media reports as ”fantasies” that Russia is assisting the Taliban in the fight against US-led forces in Afghanistan. “We have never ever provided any kind of assistance to (the) Taliban,” the ambassador said. Instead, he said, Russia is assisting the Afghan government and has granted “some light weapons” to its forces and is running programmes to train Afghan police and military personnel in Russian institutions. Dedov added that Moscow strongly supports the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, saying the improvement in the situation in security in Afghanistan is in the interest of Russia.

But what we can see that the progress there (in Afghan peace efforts) is very difficult to be seen. That’s very pity. So, I think that will be a very good discussion in two weeks in Moscow on Afghan matters.”

Responding to a question, the Russian envoy said that Russia has strongly supported China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project as it is crucial for Pakistan’s economy and regional connectivity.

He pointed out that CPEC is a component of China’s Silk Road and his country was also working on a similar Eurasian Economic Union and China and Russia are holding discussions to merge the two projects.

 

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