Afghanistan and Pakistan on Saturday agreed to hold tripartite conference with China as part of a peace process, an official said on Saturday.

 

Sibghatullah Ahmadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told journalists in Kabul the agreement was reached in meetings among the top Afghan officials and the visiting Foreign minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

 

Without specifying a date, the spokesman said the meeting would take place “soon,” and the two sides have also agreed upon joint efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table, and hold a conference of the religious scholars.

 

“The new government in Pakistan seems inclined towards peace and stability in Afghanistan and mutual cooperation”, he added.

 

Qureshi landed in Kabul in the morning on his first trip abroad in a move signifying the importance Islamabad attaches to Afghanistan.

 

He met Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, in the afternoon at Arg (presidential palace).

 

During the meeting, the two sides discussed security, peace and stability in the region, counter-terrorism and Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, according to a statement issued by Ghani’s office.

 

Ghani emphasized the importance of the action plan, saying the plan was comprehensive and its effectiveness will be observed when it is implemented.

 

The meeting also discussed Pakistan’s support for Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, the statement added.

 

In 2015, Pakistan hosted the maiden direct talks between the Taliban and a senior member of the Afghan government, but the announcement of the Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Omar’s death resulted in these talks meeting a dead end.

 

Qureshi told Pakistan’s Geo News on Saturday both the countries decided to strengthen contacts and further the reconciliation process.

 

“We have come here for the betterment of the people of both countries and we will have to deal with mutual challenges together,” he added.

 

The Taliban in Afghanistan rejected a second ceasefire offer by the Ghani administration last month insisting upon exit of foreign troops and direct talks with the U.S.