Regional countries pledge to help stability, peace in Afghanistan
ISTANBUL (Kyodo) — Countries neighboring Afghanistan on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to promote regional cooperation designed to “promote a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan in a secure and stable region in the heartland of Asia.”
A declaration was adopted by 13 countries in the heartland of Asia at the Istanbul Conference organized by Turkey and Afghanistan.
The conference was preparatory to the International Bonn Conference slated to be held Dec. 5.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul told a joint news conference at the conclusion of the conference that all the countries neighboring Afghanistan and in the extended region of the heartland of Asia have pledged to work for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“The meeting was a major success. We took concrete steps for peace and stability of Afghanistan,” Davutoglu said, describing the declaration as a “major commitment” for sustained peace in Afghanistan.
The Afghan foreign minister said that the Istanbul Declaration would bring about an environment free of terrorism threats, adding that the document has its basis in non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal matters.
The Istanbul declaration spells out a set of principles in which the countries in the region around Afghanistan would be guided including non-intervention in internal matters of other states, respect for the territorial integrity of states, support for the stability and peace in Asia, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
The signatories recognized Afghanistan’s determination not to let its territory to ever be used again as a safe havens for terrorists, terrorism and illicit drugs. In return, Afghanistan reiterated its commitment to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbors, and to ensure that its relations with any other state will be transparent and not directed against a third party.
“We declare our readiness to engage in sincere, results-oriented cooperation at the regional level, which will not only help Afghanistan but will also be beneficial to security and prosperity in the region as a whole,” it said.
As a political and security confidence-building measure, the countries renounced the threat of force or use of force to resolve disputes and guarantee non-intervention and non-interference in the internal matters of other states.
The declaration acknowledges that the ambitious objectives of enhanced regional cooperation would require overcoming several challenges. However, the benefits for Afghanistan and its neighbors will reward this ambition and be worth the endeavor.
In order to follow up on the Istanbul Conference, its participants agreed to meet again at the ministerial level in Kabul in June 2012.
Courtesy by MDN