Heart of Asia moot stresses peace, security in Afghanistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): Pakistan on Monday hosted Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process and there was convergence of views that peace, security and stability are essential for socio-economic development and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region.
“Therefore, the countries and organizations recognized the need to collectively strive for the attainment of these objectives to create a win-win situation for all,” a statement from the Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The meeting was co-chaired by Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, foreign secretary of Pakistan and Hekmat Khalil Karzai, deputy foreign minister of Afghanistan.
“In-depth discussions were held on assessment of security situation in Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia Region; Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process and role of the region in this process as well as regional priorities for economic connectivity, including regional projects like CASA-1000, TAPI gas pipeline and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” the statement added.
It said that the lead and co-lead countries of the Six Confidence Building Measures of the Process, briefed the meeting on the progress achieved so far.
A joint initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was established in November 2011 to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan, its neighbours and regional partners in facing common threats, including counterterrorism, counternarcotics, poverty, and extremism, inter alia, through a set of six Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), it added.
Fourteen participating countries, sixteen supporting countries and twelve regional and international organizations are associated with the Process.
The meeting was inaugurated by Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz. Pakistan is the co-chair of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process for 2015 along with Afghanistan, which is the permanent co-chair.
As the co-chair, Pakistan will host later this year a Ministerial Conference that will adopt Islamabad Declaration on the theme “Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process: Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Economic Connectivity”. This Conference will be preceded by three Senior Officials meetings to contribute to thought process for formulation of Islamabad Declaration.
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