Putin discusses Afghanistan with Imran, Xi

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Islamabad – August 26 (Online): Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday and discussed efforts to counter threats emanating from Afghanistan and setting up of an inclusive government there.
In a phone call, the two leaders “expressed their readiness to step up efforts to combat threats of terrorism and drug trafficking coming from the territory of Afghanistan,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
They also spoke of the “importance of establishing peace” in Afghanistan and “preventing the spread of instability to adjacent regions”. According to international media reports, Putin and Xi “agreed to intensify bilateral contacts” and “make the most of the potential” of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that is due to convene for a summit in Tajikistan next month.
Putin has also criticised the involvement of outside powers in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs and said Moscow had “learnt lessons” from the Soviet Union’s decade-long invasion of the country. For its part, after the Taliban swept to power on August 15, China said it is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative relations” with Afghanistan.
In the conversation, Xi said since the beginning of this year, China and Russia have taken the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation as a new starting point to promote strategic coordination and comprehensive practical cooperation between the two countries. The series of new achievements in this regard provide significant support for the development of both countries and play a pivotal role in uniting the international community to overcome difficulties, he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while having conversation with Russian president stressed that a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan was vitally important for Pakistan and regional stability. Besides ensuring safety, security and protection of rights of Afghans, an inclusive political settlement was the best way forward.
The prime minister underscored that the international community must stay positively engaged in support of the people of Afghanistan, to help address humanitarian needs and ensure economic sustenance. He underscored the importance of coordinated approaches in addressing the evolving situation and noted that Pakistan attached high importance of the role of the Troika Plus format. He expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of Pakistan-Russia relations, with increased high-level exchanges and growing cooperation in diverse fields.

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