Pakistan, Afghanistan ink mutual assistance agreement for customs cooperation

TASHKENT June 24 (APP) : Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to constitute a high-level bilateral mechanism for consultation and coordination on bilateral relations, security, movement of people and vehicles between the two countries.

The decision came in a meeting between Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani on the sidelines of the SCO Summit here on Thursday. Afghan National Security Adviser Haneef Atmar was also present.
The proposed mechanism will be co-chaired by Adviser Sartaj Aziz and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and with the participation of the National Security Advisers of the two countries.

It will also have a joint technical working group to deal with the concerns of both countries, a statement from the Foreign Office said.

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The main purpose of this Mechanism would be not only to address and resolve issues of concern to both sides through amicable means but also to prevent the recurrence of violent incidents like the one witnessed recently in Torkham.

The meeting built upon the ideas generated in the meeting between Foreign Secretary and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister in Islamabad on June 20.

The two sides also took this opportunity to review other aspects of bilateral relations. They reaffirmed respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and adherence to the principle of non-interference into each other’s internal affairs.

Adviser Aziz and Foreign Minister Rabbani reiterated the mutual desire for strengthening bilateral relations for promoting peace, stability, counter terrorism and economic progress of both the countries.

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It was also agreed to enhance mutual engagement in diverse areas to deepen cooperation.

The two sides specifically expressed their firm commitment to continue serious efforts towards eliminating the scourge of terrorism which poses a grave threat to the peace and security of the two countries, and the region.

In this regard, they emphasized the need for close cooperation and coordination between the two countries at all levels.

While discussing bilateral relations, the two sides stressed the need for continuing joint efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan through timely and concrete actions resulting in tangible outcomes, including in the framework of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group process.