Economic cooperation conference gets under way in Kabul
Also called The Silk Road Through Afghanistan, the event began at 9:20am with officials from the Presidential Palace and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)'s office and others are in attendance.
Cabinet members, high-level delegations from 30 countries and representatives from 40 international organisations are taking part in the conference, which will take a fresh look at aid to Afghanistan.
A Pajhwok Afghan News reporter covering the summit confirmed the participation of Iran’s interior minister, Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz, India’s deputy foreign minister and several foreign delegates.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the conference would discuss issues including regional connectivity, energy, natural resources, improving the private sector, support to Afghanistan and better business climate.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai said they would discuss projects concerning Afghanistan’s development and regional connectivity and how to utilise the opportunities in hand on the first day (Thursday) of the summit.
Other issues to be discussed concern energy, natural resources, improving the private sector, support to Afghanistan and better business climate.
“We should be aware of the politics that prevent regional and transit trade,” Karzai he said.
He said the ongoing RECCA-VI summit was different from the previous ones because it would evaluate all the past challenges and float suggestions for their solutions.
He said Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan were jointly building transport routes while China, Iran, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan would do the same.
He said recent regional initiatives especially CASA-1000 and TAPI projects were important for Afghanistan and the region.
He insisted that RECCA-VI could prove beneficial for geo-economic development and applying best entrepreneurship methods, improvement trade between central and south Asian nations.
“The joint economic agenda can help bring economic development and prosperity to our region and I hope these activities will be fully implemented,” he said.
Karzai added regional countries believed their development and prosperity lied in working together and sharing ideas.
He said Afghanistan was ready to work jointly with countries in the region in different spheres such as manpower, energy and infrastructure development through bilateral, trilateral and multi-lateral cooperation, he said.
The deputy foreign minister said transit routes could play a vital role in bringing regional countries closer and linking them through railway and road networks was even more important, something the Afghanistan government gave a priority.
Calling the summit very important for Afghanistan, Commerce Minister Abdul Sattar Murad said the war-torn country needed improvement in its situation amid dwindling international aid.
He said the government was trying to increase its revenue in the face of huge economic challenges and a devaluating currency.
Short, medium and long term projects have been included in the agenda and implementation of the projects would be discussed in Thursday’s meeting, he added.
Challenges facing the private sector would be also discussed, he said, asking the government facilitate the sector and pave the way for regional cooperation.
He said the summit was a good chance which should be properly benefited from, saying there were many essential projects that needed funds.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Foreign Office (FO) in a statement said National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz would participate in the ministerial meeting of RECCA-VI in Kabul at the head of a delegation.
The Adviser will also hold consultations with the Afghan leadership on important bilateral issues of mutual interest, the statement added.
The RECCA process was set in motion in 2005 and five meetings have been held so far in Kabul, New Delhi, Islamabad, Istanbul and Dushanbe.
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