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Rabbani calls for boosting regional cooperation forums

Rabbani calls for boosting regional cooperation forums

Nov 15, 2017 - 18:04

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Afghanistaninfo-icon says its foreign policy has been focused on initiating, strengthening and utilising mechanisms for regional cooperation, paving the ground for projects and programs of common benefit across the region.

“We are grateful to Turkmenistan for being one of our strongest partner countries, as we have strived to further advance both RECCA and Heart of Asia-Istanbul Processes,” the Afghan foreign minister said.

Speaking at the Opening Session of the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan in Ashgabat, Salahuddin Rabbani said Turkmenistan was making a profound contribution to such initiatives.

Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are working together to implement major projects such as the TAPI gas pipeline, TAP-500KV (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistaninfo-icon), Lapis Lazuli Corridor and regional railways initiatives.

He praised the governments of India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Tajikistan for hosting previous meetings to help advance the RECCA agenda.

Both Afghanistan and Turkmenistan pursued inclusive political, security and economic approaches, which bolstered interstate cooperation at the regional and continental levels, he said.

“The 7th RECCA Meeting comes at a time when the need for economic growth, stability and confidence-building is greater than ever before across our wider region,” he added.

Rabbani continued: “Our gathering therefore provides a timely opportunity to assess our shared needs; to discuss the challenges that confront us; and to identify concrete steps towards the economic integration of our wider region.”

For Afghanistan, he said, regional economic integration underpinned one of the key pillars of its foreign policy. The minister explained the pursuit of zero-sum strategies in the form of imposed conflicts only undermined regional stability -- a precondition for economic growth and sustainable development.

“Collectively, we can increase regional, inter-regional and continental trade and transit and usher in a new era of economic prosperity for all.
I hope you have had a chance to read through the RECCA Annual Review 2017,” he said.

He referred to a number of schemes, including CASA-1000, regional railway projects, transport and transit corridors of Chabahar and Belt & Road, as well as the Digital Silk Road communications network.

He also pointed to the launch of the Afghanistan-India Air Corridor Programme, through Afghanistan has exported more than 1150 metric tons of goods to India since June.

“At a time when extremists and terrorists exploit poverty and joblessness among our region’s youth, the achievements I pointed out will continue to provide employment opportunities for our countries’ young workforce.”

“Our region can significantly benefit from greater synergies among platforms for regional trade, transit, and transport cooperation across Eurasia,” he believed, saying RECCA was well-positioned to serve as a coordinating platform.




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