Joint Nawroz celebration to boost cooperation
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Thursday hoped the joint celebration of Nawroz -- the new solar year -- by political leaders would pave the ground for regional peace, prosperity and cooperation.
Addressing the International Conference on Nawroz at the Rukhyat Palace in Ashgabat, the president expressed Afghanistan’s willingness to cooperate with all regional countries in dealing with the common challenge of terrorism.
In a statement from his office, the president called Nawroz the dawn of hope and happiness, an occasion that brought together people and families. The beginning of the year marked renewal and heralded spring, he said.
The United Nations has declared March 21 as International Day of Nawroz while UNESCO had designated it as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“Such gatherings help us take useful strides toward further cementing ties and cooperation among our countries. They are also effective in forging relations based on sovereign equality, as well as promoting people-to-people contacts,” he remarked.
Karzai characterised Afghanistan as a hub of Nawroz, saying the festival was celebrated for the first time in the ancient province of Balkh. Its long history was deeply rooted in the Afghan culture, with the year’s second day marked as Farmers’ Day in his country.
The host leader, Gurbanguli Berdimuhammedov, welcomed delegations to Turkmenistan for jointly celebrating an event that represented a new dawn, respect for humanity and quest for peace.
His country had always pursued good neighbourly relations with regional countries, he said, identifying neutrality as the cornerstone of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy. Development was possible in an environment of peace, he observed.
Tajikistan President Emomali Rehmanov said the festival had a rich tradition, dating back to centuries and its objective was to purify hearts of anger and feelings of animosity.
A railroad project connecting Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan would boost trade and economic ties amongst the three nations, he believed.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked participants to reinforce their resolve to serve the masses, respect teachers and parents. He urged justice and equality in all international affairs and called for sustainable development.
Ahmadinejad asked the participants to stand united against the enemies of peace in the world and the region. He was optimistic of conflicts coming to an end with the arrival of the spring.
In his speech, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari stressed greater regional cooperation in strengthening security and collaboration in the energy sector.
He offered Central Asian Republics the use of Pakistan’s Gwadar port for trade with the world, suggesting a robust road and rail linkage to enable the countries to exploit their natural resources.
He also affirmed Pakistan’s desire for the early completion of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
Dignitaries from Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Turkey, United Nations, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan also spoke on the occasion. They resolved to preserve the values of peace and humanity.
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