Afghan Ambassador Javid Qaem meets with Chinese journalists at the Beijing embassy on July 22. Photo: Wang Wenwen/GT
China can utilize its advantages in favor of a long-lasting peace in Afghanistan and Afghanistan is looking forward to having the kind of relationship China has with Pakistan, Afghan Ambassador to China Javid Qaem said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“China is a big player in the region and has very good relations with many countries that are somehow involved in the events happening in Afghanistan,” the ambassador said, adding that one of the countries in the region that China has very close relations is Pakistan, which is one of the advantages China has in helping Afghanistan secure a ceasefire and reach peace negotiations.
Qaem noted that trilateral cooperation mechanisms, such as the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue and the Trilateral Vice Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue, are already in place to facilitate the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He said these efforts could stretch further.
Another advantage China has is that it has contacts with the Taliban so it has the leverage to convince them to accept a ceasefire, the ambassador said.
A Taliban delegation reportedly visited Beijing and held talks with Chinese officials in September last year, after US President Trump unexpectedly called off talks with the Taliban earlier that month.
In February, the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban to end 19 years of war in Afghanistan, to which the Afghan government was not a party. The agreement said nothing about attacks on Afghan civilians and hundreds of people were killed as violence raged even after the pact was struck.
Qaem called for a ceasefire and direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government to achieve peace and said the government’s negotiating team is ready and willing to start talks.
He said the Afghan government, after the success of talks with the Taliban, will continue to fight terrorist groups including Islamic State and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist organization that operates in China and the border regions of Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is fighting at the frontline. We have good collaboration with Chinese counterparts in fighting terrorist groups and the Chinese side is happy with the active role Afghanistan plays in fighting ETIM,” the ambassador said.