Hekmat Karzai, Aziz say terror impeding development
Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khali Karzai issued the remarks at a meeting in Islamabad.
Addressing senior officials ahead of the Heart of Asia Conference, Aziz called regional cooperation and connectivity as a key driver of peace and prosperity. Stability in Afghanistan was in the best interest of Pakistan, he said.
The advisor hailed the conference as an effective platform for member countries to engage in result-oriented discussions on promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Aziz underlined the need for greater cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts, disaster management, infrastructure development and promoting education through confidence-building measures.
“Our resolute struggle against terrorism is now yielding the fruit of peace and prosperity to our people. In our view, closer regional cooperation can play an effective role in eliminating the scourge,” he remarked.
Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai also supported collective efforts for fighting against terrorism and extremism. He said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the best interest of the entire region.
He said the timing of the conference was critical as the region confronted many challenges. The current situation warranted joint efforts for fighting militancy in all its manifestations.
Kabul attached great importance to maintaining strong relations with other regional countries for the promotion of economic activities and meeting other challenges, Karzai added.
The participation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in the conference has given a new momentum to the ministerial conference.
An initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey, the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process was established in 2011. The objective is to foster regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting stability and development in Afghanistan.
For the first time, foreign ministers from Pakistan’s four neighbouring countries, China, Iran, India and Afghanistan, will be attending the conference.
Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and his counterparts from China, India and Iran are due today in the Pakistani capital.
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