World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey’s foreign minister Sunday urged “regional cooperation and solidarity” in the region centered on Afghanistan.
Addressing the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process in Amristar, India, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “It has been five years since we initiated the process together with Afghanistan.”
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, founded in 2011 in Turkey, intends “to address the shared challenges and interests of Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners,” recognizing that “a secure and stable Afghanistan is vital to the prosperity of the Heart of Asia region,” according to its website.
Behind the process, said Cavusoglu, “the idea was that regional problems require regional cooperation and solitary.”
He added, “This cooperation was also needed, because most of the challenges we face are of a trans-boundary nature. As such, no country can cope with these problems on its own. Today, with this Sixth Ministerial Conference, we renew our commitment to the process.”
“I am pleased that the process provided the ground to establish an interaction among regional countries, supporting countries, and organizations,” he said.
Saying that Afghanistan is making progress on security and development, he added: “Today, millions of Afghans have access to education, health, and other social services.”
“However, there is still much to do,” Cavusoglu said.
For his part, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that stronger connections between Afghanistan and other countries of the region are needed.
“Afghanistan should be at the center of our connectivity networks, not peripheral to them. For our part, we see Afghanistan as the hub for strengthening links of connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia,” he added.
“We cannot deny that the more connected Afghanistan is with the regional arteries of trade, capital, and markets, the more assured would be its economic growth and progress,” he added.
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process has 14 participating countries, 17 supporting countries, and 12 supporting regional and international organizations, according to its website.
Afghanistan is the permanent chair of the platform, and this year India holds the co-chair position and hosts the event, attended by representatives from Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab Emirates.Last Mod: 05 Aralık 2016, 00:55