China, US reiterate support for Afghan peace process
NEW YORK/KABUL (Pajhwok): China and the United States have reiterated their support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive peace process and for Kabul’s efforts at advancing reconciliation with Taliban and other armed groups.
Leaders of Afghanistan, China and United States Saturday held a high level meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The meeting was attended by Secretary of State John Kerry, Chief Executive Office Abdullah Abdullah, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani.
The three countries reiterated their conviction that Afghanistan never again be used as a safe-haven for international terrorists.
In a joint statement they called upon regional countries and the international community to make joint efforts at preventing the spread of terrorist and extremist groups in the region.
Welcoming an update from Pakistani National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz on preparations for the Islamabad conference, the meeting reiterated its support for the principles of good neighborly relations.
The high-level representatives expressed the desire for the Islamabad conference to be an opportunity for all regional and international states to renew their commitments to support and respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and to reaffirm the Heart of Asia’s commitment to the principle of non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
“The event demonstrated the keen interest that both the US and China share in working together in support of Afghanistan,” a senior State Department Official told reporters during a conference call.
“We have over a number of years nurtured a dialogue with China about Afghanistan and also developed some – rather unusual for our two countries – actual cooperative programs in support of development in Afghanistan.”
“And that’s something that we will continue to pursue and we believe the Chinese are interested in continuing to pursue as well,” the official said.
John Kerry told the meeting that the people of Afghanistan faced numerous problems and Taliban’s threat was still existed, stressing the need for strengthening Afghanistan’s institutions and electoral reforms.
He said Al Qaeda remained a threat, but the newly emerged threat posed by the Islamic State group had multiplied Afghanistan’s problems.
Kerry said Washington supported the Afghanistan peace process, but said the process should not do away with the past 13 years gains.
Abdullah said his country would not allow terrorist and extremist groups to impose their demands on the Afghans.
“Other countries should also not support terrorist activities for their political and military goals and should avoid facilitating terrorists,” the CEO said, but named no country.
Abdullah stressed regional cooperation in the war against terrorism and extremism, saying Kabul supported the peace process but at the same time they would defend the people and soil.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country besides supporting the Afghan peace process jointly with the United States would also play its role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
“We must identify Afghanistan’s priorities. China supports Afghanistan’s unity government,” he said.
A similar meeting last year involved Pakistan, but this time Pakistan was excluded from the meeting as demanded by Afghanistan.
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