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Heart of Asia members call for cooperation to ensure dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries

AKIPRESS.COM - The 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) on Afghanistan was held in Dushanbe on March 30 under co-chairmanship of foreign ministers of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, ANI reported.

A Joint Declaration was adopted by the Foreign Ministers and high-level representatives of the Participating Countries of the HoA-IP: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan. From India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar participated in the conference.

The member nations extended their support to the ongoing efforts for the peace process and continuation of negotiations between Afghan government and the Taliban.

In the declaration, member nations condemned terrorist activities in all "forms and manifestations" and emphasized the need for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan, and called for the resumption of meaningful peace negotiations and full respect for International Humanitarian Law.

Regarding the continued relations between the Taliban and international terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, it reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used as safe havens for any terrorist groups or foreign terrorist entities.

The declaration has called for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, preventing and interdicting the movement of terrorists and terrorist groups, including foreign terrorist fighters, across the countries of the HoA Region and anywhere else, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical, logistical or any other form of support for terrorism without any distinction;

"We acknowledge that long-term stability and prosperity in the region require peace and security in Afghanistan, and therefore the region, as well as the international community, has a shared responsibility and common interest to work together for promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region as a whole," said the declaration.

On counter-narcotics efforts, the declaration said that drug trafficking and the illicit drug trade pose a threat to the socio-economic development, security, and stability not only in Afghanistan but also in the surrounding region.

Commending countries in the region and beyond for their hospitality and support in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for four decades, it called for creating conducive conditions in Afghanistan for voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable repatriation of the refugees.

India’s foreign minister Jaishankar had said, "For a durable peace in Afghanistan, what we need is a genuine 'double peace', that is, peace within Afghanistan and peace around Afghanistan.”

Afghan envoy to India Farid Mamundzay while welcoming Jaishankar’s remarks said, "Till terror support continues from within the region and beyond region the conflict will continue. We have been suffering because of foreign fighters, Afghans have suffered the most, it's not a civil war in Afghanistan, it's international terrorism and that has caused a lot of misery and lot of blood, so wherever it is coming from we want all those non-state actors to stop killing Afghans and destabilising Afghanistan.”

India has stepped up its role and involvement in Afghan solution. Recently Afghanistan’s foreign minister during his recent visit to New Delhi, urged India to be part of all forum where peace in Afghanistan is discussed as it has huge stakes in the development of the country.

The Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process is an initiative of the Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Turkey, which was officially launched at a conference hosted by Turkey in Istanbul on 2 November 2011.

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