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Joint efforts for regional stability vowed in ‘Heart of Asia’ Conference

Fri Jun 15, 1:29 pm

The participants of the Heart of Asia conference on Thursday voiced their support of the ongoing transition process, the reconciliation program with the Taliban and the joint combat efforts against terrorism and drugs in Afghanistan.

The conference, attended by the foreign ministers of six neighboring countries, eight regional countries, some European countries and international organizations, called Afghanistan’s stability “in the interest of regional security and stability.”

The Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who opened the meeting with his speech, urged the regional countries to help Afghanistan to bring further peace and stability.

President Karzai highlighted the role of regional and neighboring countries in Afghanistan’s stability—clearly asking Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for their help in this regard.

The foreign ministers and representatives of participating countries also emphasized the importance of Afghanistan’s stability, saying security and stability in Afghanistan is in favor of regional and international security.

“Everyone knows that stability in Afghanistan ensures Asia’s security. More in this meeting, the ministerial-level political consultations, the creation of confidence-building measures (CBMs) and coordination among the countries were discussed in the conference,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also emphasized the serious nature of the fights against terrorism and drugs, saying the region and the world must jointly work in this regard.

“ISAF should make continuing efforts for the elimination of terrorism and drugs, and we must try also to help in the efforts so that Afghanistan can be shaped to ensure stability in the region and the world,” Lavrov stressed.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also stressed on her country’s continued cooperation, saying, “Pakistan is committed to continue its cooperation. Drugs are the main source of insecurity and instability in the region and thus must be fought seriously.”

But Iran as usual opposed the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan, saying the withdrawal of these forces could help improve the region’s security.

“Our concern is the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan and we stress on the importance of their exit,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

However, the British and German Foreign Ministers described the presence of foreign forces in as being important to Afghanistan and the countries in the region and pledged their continued support to Afghanistan’s security.

“Though we will help Afghanistan by providing security and stability, the effort also needs the ongoing cooperation of its friends and neighbors,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said during his speech in Heart of Asia ministerial conference.

“Our presence in Afghanistan will not be a threat to anyone. The regional countries must make efforts  to establish trust between each other in order to ensure stability in the region,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stated.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke through a video message, stressing on the fight against terrorism, saying “all the countries have a common enemy which is terrorism.”

“Combating terrorism is important, we have common threats such as terrorism, extremism and illicit drugs and we must share efforts to eliminate these common challenges,” Ban Ki-moon urged the regional countries.

These joint pledges for the region’s stability come as the terrorists’ presence remains strong in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Pakistan has repeatedly pledged to make a serious fight against terrorism but so far has not taken any practical step for the eradication of the insurgents.

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