Pakistan-Afghanistan joint counter terrorism talks on cards

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Sartaj Aziz , the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, told reporters in Islamabad that he will hold further talks with Afghanistan on counter terrorism when he meets with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani on the sidelines of ECO Summit next week, reported VOA.

He said that Rabbani has confirmed his participation in the 10-nation Economic Cooperation Organisation Summit along with other senior Afghan officials.

Aziz went on to say that both sides see terrorism as a “common enemy” and have agreed that there is a need for cooperation.

“For this purpose, we are holding discussions on developing a mechanism at various levels such as ground level, higher military level, intelligence level, political level, foreign office level. We [Pakistan] have already sent them our proposals and if they [Afghanistan] agree to it, I am hopeful it [the agreement] will be formalised during the [ECO] summit,” he said.

Terming CPEC a best manifestation of the theme of 13th ECO Summit ‘connectivity for regional prosperity’, Sartaj Aziz said the summit starting here from March 1 will deliberate and decide on the ways and means to augment cooperation in the diverse areas. He said Pakistan earlier hosted the 3rd ECO Summit in Islamabad in May 1995.

The summit will be held on March 1 but it would be preceded by the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) on February 26-27 and Council of Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (COM) on February 28. Most of the member states have already confirmed participation at heads of State or heads of government level.

To a query, he said seven out of ten member states have confirmed the partition at highest level whereas Afghanistan and Azerbaijan have not yet confirmed. However, Afghanistan’s participation at the foreign minister level has already been confirmed.

High-level participation of the member states will greatly enhance the vitality and substance of the summit, he said.

The ECO Observers and special guests have also been invited to attend the Summit.

Pakistan