SECOND ROUND: PAK-AFGHAN BILATERAL FORUM TO MEET TODAY
The second review meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) will be held in Kabul on Monday, according to a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFa).
It said that Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood will lead the Pakistan delegation comprising senior officials. The Afghan side will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab.
APAPPS was established in 2018 to provide a comprehensive and structured framework for institutional engagement in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"The framework comprises five Working Groups focused on Politico-Diplomatic, Military to Military Coordination, Intelligence Cooperation, Economy, and Refugee Issues. The first review meeting was held in Islamabad on 10 June 2019," the statement added.
During the second meeting, all five working groups under APAPPS will review the implementation status of earlier discussions and decisions, with a view to taking the process forward.
The APAPPS provides an important forum to address common challenges and deepen mutual trust and understanding. Effective utilisation of the APAPPS mechanism is pivotal in advancing the shared objectives of peace, stability, prosperity and development.
The official statement comes days after Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah announced that intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban would begin in coming days.
“People are hopeful for peace. People are ready for tough decisions for the peace, but [they] also have concerns,” Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the Afghan government’s High Council for National Reconciliation, said at an event in the capital Kabul.
Islamabad, earlier, had hosted a Taliban delegation, led by the group’s deputy chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
The visit of the Taliban delegation came against the backdrop of efforts for early commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue – a crucial phase of the peace process. According to a statement issued by the FO, views were exchanged on the current status of the Afghan peace process and the way forward during the meeting.