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Heart of Asia summit as it happened: Amritsar Declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat, says Arun Jaitley

Pakistan Premier's foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz along with foreign ministers of four countries on Sunday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who told them that it was important to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability in Afghanistan and the region.

FP Staff December 04, 2016 18:20:39 IST
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Heart of Asia summit as it happened: Amritsar Declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat, says Arun Jaitley

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Dec 04, 2016 - 17:32 (IST)

Amritsar declaration on Afghanistan calls for elimination of terror

Amritsar: An international conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar on Sunday called for immediate elimination of terrorism to help the war-ravaged country in its political and economic transition.

The Amritsar Declaration, issued after the 6th ministerial 'Heart of Asia conference - Istanbul Process on Afghanistan' in this Punjab city near India's border with Pakistan, "recognises terrorism as the biggest threat to peace" and demanded "immediate end to all forms of terrorism".

Citing the declaration, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who chaired the meeting in the absence of ailing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, said: "We remain concerned by high level of violence in Afghanistan caused by Taliban, terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, Daesh (Islamic State) and its affiliates."

"We strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism, including dismantling of terrorist safe havens in the Heart of Asia region, as well as disrupting all financial and logistical support for terrorism."

— IANS

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:27 (IST)

Don't blame one country for terrorism: Pakistan's Aziz

Amritsar: Reiterating that Paksitan "is committed to lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region", Pakistan's de facto foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz on Sunday said only one country cannot be blamed for rising terrorist violence in the region.

"The first and foremost in our view is continuing violence and acts of terrorism claiming scores of human lives. This needs to be addressed urgently and effectively through collective efforts," Aziz said at the 6th ministerial 'Heart of Asia Conference - Istanbul Process on Afghanistan' in this Punjab city near India's border with Pakistan.

"It's simplistic to blame only one country for the recent upsurge in violence. We need to have an objective and holistic view," Aziz said at the two-day conference.

Earlier, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, in his blunt remarks in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, unequivocally named Pakistan for promoting terrorism in the region.

Aziz said Pakistan had "been making serious efforts for facilitating peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban that have not yet produced positive results".

"We need to make an objective evaluation of our efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan."

Aziz said his government stood in solidarity with the elected government and people of Afghanistan in furthering the objective of peace, stability and development.

"In our view, there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and all our efforts should be to achieve a politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led Afghan-owned process."

Advocating the need to promote connectivity across the borders, the diplomat said Pakistan was committed to enhancing facilitation for transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan.

"We believe the two sides need to work together for extension of and improvements in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement. In this context, let me emphasize that peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes will further improve prospects of regional cooperation and connectivity."

— IANS

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:24 (IST)

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:23 (IST)

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:22 (IST)

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:22 (IST)

India to work on infrastructure, housing and skill development

"We have been supporting and one of the key areas is going to infrastructure in Afghanistan. The part of this plan is housing and skill development that could be on the agenda," says Arun Jaitley.

Afghanistan minister Hekmat Karzai says that water management, the building of dams are some of the areas that Afghanistan is looking at.

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:19 (IST)

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:16 (IST)

Dec 04, 2016 - 17:12 (IST)

Heart of Asia Declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat to peace

Dec 04, 2016 - 12:17 (IST)

Indian support for Afghan development is unconditional: President Ghani

Amritsar: Appreciating India's unconditional support for the economic development of war-ravaged Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said the expansion of the key Chabahar port between India, Iran and his country was very important for regional trade and connectivity.

Ghani particularly spoke about India's assistance in the construction of Salma dam -- officially called the Afghan-India Friendship Dam -- that was inaugurated on 4 June 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Ghani in Herat province of that country.

"India's support to Afghanistan to improve people's life is transparent with no strings attached," the Afghan President said. He was addressing the inaugural function of the 6th ministerial 'Heart of Asia conference - Istanbul Process on Afghanistan' in this Punjab city being attended by leaders from south and central Asia and several western countries.

Ghani said the Chabahar port development project "is very important for connectivity and commerce". India and Iran signed a bilateral agreement in May 2016 to refurbish the port on the Gulf of Oman that is expected to provide an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan.

— IANS

Pakistan Premier's foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz along with foreign ministers of four countries on Sunday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who told them that it was important to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability in Afghanistan and the region.

The Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Slovakia, which holds the European Union Presidency this month, along with Pakistan Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor Aziz called on Modi ahead of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.

Heart of Asia summit as it happened Amritsar Declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat says Arun Jaitley

PM Narendra Modi with Nawaz Sharif. PTI file image

Modi welcomed the Foreign Ministers and stressed it was the collective responsibility of all those in the region to work together to help Afghanistan out of its current difficulties, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The Prime Minister stated that his several interactions with both the common people of Afghanistan and the country's leadership had convinced him that the Afghan people were tired of the continuing violence and terrorism. Prime Minister Modi stressed on "the need to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability, security and development in Afghanistan and our region," Swarup said. In this context, the Prime Minister hoped that discussions in the Ministerial Conference tomorrow will produce good results.

Agreeing with the Premier on the need to end violence in Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministers shared Prime Minister Modi's view that Afghanistan's stability, security and prosperity are integral to the region's, Swarup said. "They greatly appreciated the continued commitment and engagement of India and its leadership for these ends.

The Foreign Ministers warmly thanked India for hosting the Conference and expressed confidence that all friends of Afghanistan will work together for realising the aspirations for peace and development," he said.

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