Stage set for 5th Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): A two-day ministerial conference on Afghanistan, to be jointly inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is set to begin in Islamabad today (Tuesday).
The fifth Heart of Asia Conference will be attended by high-level delegations from 14 participating states, 17 supporting countries and 12 international and regional organisations.
On the sidelines of the conference, senior Afghan and Pakistani officials are expected to meet to explore the possibility of the resumption of the peace process and other issues of bilateral interest.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai will deliver opening remarks, Radio Pakistan reported.
The theme of the meeting is Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process: Enhanced cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the Heart of Asia region.
Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah told Pajhwok Afghan News: “The fifth ministerial conference is expected to adopt a forward-looking Islamabad Declaration.”
Commitments from the Heart of Asia countries and partners to sustained efforts for promoting peace and security, economic development and connectivity in the region will be the highlight of the declaration.
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the UAE are part of the initiative launched in 2011.
The 14 countries have been pursuing confidence-building measures since 2013 in areas of disaster management, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, trade and investment, regional infrastructure and education.
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