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Need stressed for enhanced trilateral cooperation

Need stressed for enhanced trilateral cooperation

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May 28, 2020 - 11:04

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Representatives of the United States, Afghanistaninfo-icon and Uzbekistan met via their inaugural video teleconference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul said on Thursday.

The meeting was co-chaired by American Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar and his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov.   

Participants reaffirmed the importance of trilateral discussions to address issues of mutual concern, including political, security, economic and human development matters, a statement from the ministry said.

The participants affirmed their commitment to greater cooperation and called on countries of the region and the broader international community to promote the Afghanistan peace process and support the goal of a durable political settlement preserving the gains of the past 18 years.

They welcomed the conclusion of the May 17 political agreement on forming an inclusive Afghan government and creating a High Council for National Reconciliation, both moves aimed to boost the peace process/

They affirmed the urgency of starting intra-Afghan negotiations on a comprehensive ceasefire and a political roadmap for Afghanistan’s future. The ministry added

The meeting welcomed the Eid ceasefire and the decision by Afghan leadership this week to expedite the release of Talibaninfo-icon prisoners, including the more than 900 prisoners already. They urged continued releases by the Afghan government and the Taliban.

While encouraging the continuation of the Eid ceasefire; they noted the necessity of Afghanistan not returning to the pre-truce levels of violence and stressed the urgency of eliminating civilian casualties to create an environmentinfo-icon conducive for peace, delivery of essential life-saving services and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The participants took note of the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration and the US-Taliban agreement of February 29. They affirmed commitments by Taliban and Kabul to preventing any international terrorist groups or individuals, including Al-Qaida and ISIS, from using Afghan soil.

To this end, the sacrifices of the Afghan security forces and their international partners were appreciated.

Consistent with needs citizen needs, the participants agreed the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need to strengthen cooperation on responding to public healthinfo-icon crises; maintaining flows of essential goods and services across borders, including critical medical supplies and foodstuff.

Via the trilateral format, the participants intend to deepen cooperation in the following priority areas:

Developing security cooperation and intensifying joint efforts to combat cross-border threats along the frontier between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, and to address issues like terrorism, drug and precursor trafficking, smuggling, illegal migrationinfo-icon, human trafficking, and wildlife trafficking throughout the region;

Improving rail connectivity, including increased volume of freight transit traffic between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan and beyond, with a view to the uninterrupted delivery of food, essential goods, medications, especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, and improving regional transit integration.

Promoting trade between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan by improving legal frameworks, policy reforms, sharing information, use of appropriate technology, risk management, investment in infrastructure and human resources and removing constraints through the development of a free economic zone at the Termez border crossing;

Discussing construction of railroads linking Uzbekistan with ports in Pakistaninfo-icon and beyond, in particular, discussion of the feasibility of building railway lines along the Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat-Bahramcha and Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Torkham routes;

Mitigating the consequences of COVID-19 for food security, supporting regional energy projects such as CASA-1000, Central Asia Regional Electricity Market (CAREM), multi-lateral development bank electricity transmission projects, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline and the construction of the 500 kilovolt Surkhan-Puli-Khumri-Khoja-Alvan power transmission line; expanding opportunities for people-to-people exchanges and joint;

Increasing humanitarian engagement between peoples, including through coordination to confront the current pandemic, future public health crises, and natural disasters;

Promoting womeninfo-icon’s equality and economic empowerment so that women can serve as drivers of the response to and recovery from the impacts COVID-19; and

Establishing a working group to implement the decisions made under this trilateral.

pk/mud

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