ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Wednesday jointly inaugurated the fifth Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Islamabad.
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Speaking on the occasion the leaders reiterated that the conference is one of many effective initiatives for stabalisation of Afghanistan and strengthening mutual cooperation of regional countries for peace and development.
Representatives of as many as 27 regional countries, including 14 members states Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirate; are attending the conference.
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey.
The main objective of the Process is to foster efforts for regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace and stability as well as progress and development in Afghanistan, and the region.
Earlier on Tuesday addressing the opening session of conference Prime Minister’s special adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Heart of Asia Conference is an effective platform for promoting regional cooperation and connectivity. He said it provides an opportunity to member countries for result-oriented engagements for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He said there is a need to enhance regional cooperation in counter terrorism, anti-narcotics efforts, disaster management, infrastructure and education through confidence building measures.
Sartaj Aziz said security challenges are hampering our socio-economic development and there is a need to meeting the challenges facing the region by strengthening cooperation.
Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister speaking on the occasion stressed the need for united and collective efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism. He said Afghanistan is determined to continue fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
He said peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the best interest of the region. The Heart of Asia Conference provides a platform for promoting regional cooperation, he added.