Neighbours urged to respect Afghan sovereignty
WASHINGTON (PAN): Ahead of the Istanbul Conference, the United States on Monday said neighbouring countries should respect the sovereignty of Afghanistan, hoping the nations would make a commitment in this regard.
As Afghanistan assumes lead responsibility for its security, it was really critical that the international community remained engaged to ensure the progress they had all worked to achieve over the last 10 years was preserved, a senior administration official told reporters.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the conference, beginning on November 2.
“So Istanbul is seen as an opportunity for Afghanistan's neighbours to reiterate their commitment to a stable, secure, economically viable Afghanistan, and to supporting Afghan-led reconciliation, the transition to Afghan security leadership and then a shared regional economic vision,” the official said.
Co-chaired by Afghanistan and Turkey, the conference participants are regional partners -- China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) besides the US, Japan and other key European players.
“We are urging all of Afghanistan's neighbors to commit to a set of principles ... that underscore full respect for Afghan sovereignty and territory,” the official maintained.
“So from our perspective, the neighbours and near neighbours will use this as an opportunity to do probably four things in a declaration like that: reiterate a shared commitment to sovereignty, as I just noted; second, endorse transition to Afghan security leadership; also endorse Afghan efforts for a political solution; and the fourth, to build towards a sustainable Afghan economy that can help to achieve the new Silk Road regional economic vision,” the official explained.
Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman travelled to the region in preparation for the important conference. The title of the Istanbul Conference is "Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia."
The officer said the Istanbul conference would soon be followed by the Bonn conference. In fact, the Bonn event will be the first time the Afghan government will chair a major international conference on its own.
The conference that starts Wednesday morning will be opened by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The morning session will be reserved for comments from other regional participating countries.
In the afternoon, other international supporters, including the US, will use the opportunity to make addresses. Then it will close with the presentation of the declaration on whose final draft negotiations are still ongoing.
“Given the importance that Pakistan plays a major role in helping resolve the Afghan conflict, we've been working very closely with the Pakistani delegation on finding language that all parties can uphold and promote on the recognition of sovereignty,” the official said in response to a question.
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