China, Pakistan discuss expanding CPEC into Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan on Monday discussed ways to further expand multi-billion-dollar project of China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Afghanistan.

During a meeting with China’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan Ambassador Yue Xiaoyong, the two officials exchanged views on the political and security situation in Afghanistan, humanitarian assistance by Pakistan and China to Afghanistan, and other matters of mutual interest.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Office, Mahmood Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood stressed the importance of de-freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves and facilitation of banking operations to ease the economic hardships of the Afghan people and help build a sustainable economy.

He also underlined the importance for the Afghan side to address the international community’s expectations regarding:

  • Inclusivity
  • Respect for the rights of all Afghans
  • Girls’ education
  • Effective counter-terrorism measures

He also underscored Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and connected Afghanistan.

The foreign secretary highlighted the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, including Pakistan’s relief efforts in the wake of the devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan on 22 June 2022.

In the context of regional connectivity, both sides exchanged views on the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan to promote economic development and prosperity.

He underscored that the international community’s focus should not be diverted from the dire situation in Afghanistan owing to events taking place elsewhere.

While emphasising continued constructive engagement and practical cooperation with the interim Afghan authorities, Mahmood highlighted the central role of platforms such as Troika Plus and six neighbouring countries of Afghanistan in advancing shared goals.

Special Envoy Ambassador Yue Xiaoyong appreciated the important and constructive role played by Pakistan in the context of Afghanistan. Both sides agreed that only a peaceful, stable and connected Afghanistan could “act as a fulcrum for enhanced regional trade and connectivity”.

Earlier, the Chinese envoy held talks with his counterpart, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Ambassador (r) Mohammad Sadiq. Both sides took stock of the evolving situation and discussed humanitarian assistance, infrastructure development, as well as trade and transit initiatives.

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