Six-party moot in Moscow decides to expand framework

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The six-party moot held in Moscow for Afghan peace process has decided to expand the framework, allowing other regional players, namely the central Asian states, to join in the dialogue process and Pakistan welcomes the decision.

These views were expressed by Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakria during the weekly briefing here at the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs. “The six-party talks, which concluded yesterday, discussed regional approaches to the security situation in Afghanistan and agreed on expansion of this six-party format with the inclusion of Central Asian countries, at first,” the spokesman said.

He said that the meeting also agreed to further increase efforts towards peace and stability in Afghanistan under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. “Pakistan welcomes all such initiatives. We expect regional countries to play their constructive role in this regard,” the spokesman said and added that the discussions focused assessing the situation in Afghanistan and approaches towards attaining peace in Afghanistan, and taking affective steps to address those concerns.

“In the Moscow meeting, the discussions were about the situation in Afghanistan and adopting regional approaches towards peace and stability in Afghanistan. The impact of the situation in Afghanistan on the regional countries was a matter of concern. Regional countries are getting together to cooperate and enhance efforts towards peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Zakria maintained.

With the expansion of the six-party talks, the influence of regional powers like Russia, China and Pakistan would increase. Interestingly, it seems, however, that India has been sidelined in the process with the expansion of the format while Russia and China would have a bigger role in the Afghan efforts. India stands isolated in the process as its influence has been curtailed with the expansion of the participants.

Over the years, Russia and China have cultivated heavily in the central Asian states that came into being in 1990s but since then, their reliance has been left on Russian Federation in terms of finances and military equipment. In 2001, allied forces came and made some investments in the central Asia. However, the US influence remained limited to Ukraine and Georgia. Over the past decade, China’s influence has increased manifold due to the economic corridors constructed, linking China with the central Asian states.

China has invested $30 billion in central Asian states which has increased its influence silently. Moreover, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), under the CAREC initiative, also invested US$ 20 billion. The heavy investments in central Asian states helped them survive the initial economic dent. Moreover, the turmoil in those central Asian states where the US wielded its influence, like Ukraine and Georgia, distanced other central Asian states from the western bloc.

ECO Summit

Zakria said that the official theme of the upcoming ECO Summit is connectivity with prosperity. Therefore, he said all matters of enhancing connectivity and economic cooperation will be discussed during the summit. “The initial phase of CPEC will end when the early harvest projects come to completion. CPEC is a bilateral project of Pakistan and China. The two countries will discuss modalities on the nature of participation of other countries,” he said. “It is clear that CPEC is not just an economic project for Pakistan or China, but it will bring benefits for the entire region,” the spokesman said.