ASHGABAT (Pajhwok): Second vice president Sarwar Danish on Wednesday said Afghanistan could overcome its challenges with cooperation of regional countries.
Danish was addressing participants of the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference (RECCA-VII) in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on Wednesday, the second and last day of the event.
The participants emphasized upon facilitating transit, transportation and trade, women’s empowerment and strengthening cooperation among investors and traders.
Foreign ministers from 30 region countries and other parts of the world and representatives of 25 regional and international organizations attended the day two of the conference.
Sarwar Danish said the presence of representatives from 60 countries at the RECCA-VII showed Afghanistan’s trade relations with RECCA member countries had expanded.
He added strengthening Afghanistan’s trade relations on regional and international level had been one of the unity government’s top priorities .
He also said cooperation of regional countries could put existing challenges in Afghanistan to an end.
Danish insisted on improvement in economic relations and implementation of vital regional projects, saying the RECCA platform would increase cooperation and build strong mutual bonds among regional and international countries.
Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani was another speaker who said effective mechanisms like RECCA would help enhance cooperation level among regional countries.
“Indeed, only common efforts through such platform can gradually but surely overcome existing tensions and jointly address our nations’ common needs, whether in the economic or security spheres.”
“Afghanistan needs stability more than anything else and this conference can give a positive answer to this issue. We can pursue our goals in a better manner this way and can take steady steps for improving regional cooperation,” Rabbani added.
He said Afghanistan currently faced several challenges in achieving economic prosperity but the ongoing efforts by Kabul administration and regional countries would explore many ways to achieve that goal.
Mikheil Janelidze, Foreign Minister of Georgia, who also spoke on the occasion, announced his country’s backing for revival of the Lapis Lazuli Transit Route.
He said:” I am sure that bright future and horizons await the region.” He added his country was ready for any kind of economic cooperation and would remain as such.
Indian Foreign Minister Mobasher Jawed Akbar, who also participated in the conference, said that RECCA was like a bridge, connecting Afghanistan with other countries.
He also declared his country’s readiness to play its role under RECCA framework.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” said the Indian foreign minister, saying whoever stood with Afghanistan in the current critical situation; they were the nation’s real friends.”
He also called RECCA-VII a huge opportunity for strengthening regional cooperation, saying this cooperation would ensure a long-lasting peace in Afghanistan.
He said not allowing Afghan goods to reach India via Pakistan was an act against the Afghan people.
Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi, the Iranian minister of urban development, said regional cooperation could resolve the existing challenges.
He said his country was also willing to cooperate in terms of boosting economy of Afghanistan.
Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan National Security Advisor, in his speech, said the main purpose of all RECCA-VII participating countries was ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Aziz stated his country was also committed to expanding trade relations with Afghanistan under the RECCA framework.
Aziz, pointing to the concerns of Indian foreign minister regarding the blockage of routes by Pakistan, said his country was fully cooperating to strengthen business relations with Afghanistan and also supported regional economic cooperation.
Anwar Mohammad Qarqash, foreign minister of the UAE, also expressed his country’s preparedness to cooperate in economic development of Afghanistan and other RECCA member countries.
RECCA since its inception in 2005 has held six conferences in Kabul, India, Islamabad, Istanbul and Dushanbe respectively.