APP05-08 ISLAMABAD: December 08 - Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai addressing during the senior officials meeting of the Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process. APP photo by Afzaal Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 8 (APP): Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Tuesday, emphasising the need for peace and security in the region, said Pakistan is committed to help its neighbours including Afghanistan to ensure durable peace.
Addressing the fifth senior officials meeting prior to Ministerial Heart of Asia Conference-Istanbul process, here at Foreign Office today, he said Pakistan wants durable peace in
Afghanistan as instability there is not in its interest.Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan will continue to support all endavours aiming at strengthening peace and security in
Afghanistan to ensure development in the region.He was of the view that Heart of Asia Conference is an effective platform for promoting regional economic cooperation
and connectivity, with Afghanistan and all the neighbouring countries.
Sartaj Aziz said Heart of Asia Conference provides an opportunity to member countries to take effective measures and steps and engage in result-oriented projects for a peaceful
and stable Afghanistan, and a secure and prosperous region as a whole.
The Advisor said since the launching of Heart of Asia conference in 2011, the forum has continued to make good progress towards realization of its core objectives of
promoting durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and enhance cooperation among the members.Highlighting the key achievements of this forum, he said these include political consultation involving Afghanistan and its neighbours and the regional countries to promote
mutual trust in the areas of security and economic interaction and development.
The Advisor said : “The confidence-building measures identified in the Istanbul process document are leading to enhanced regional engagement and cooperation of the Heart Asia countries with Afghanistan in areas of trade and economic, energy, counter terrorism, narcotics, disaster management, regional infrastructure and education.” “As the Heart of Asia process is maturing, our focus should be on strengthening engagements and collaboration to effectively combat the formidable challenges facing the region in the field of security as well as promoting regional economic collaboration and fighting extremism and terrorism jointly,” he added. The Advisor said the theme of this conference “Enhanced cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity” in the Heart of Asia is pertinent to the needs of the region. Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai, speaking
on this occasion, emphasised the need for a united and collective approach to counter the menace of terrorism and violent extremism. The Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister said the Heart of Asia conference is taking place at a critical juncture when the region
is confronted by many challenges including terrorism, lack of infrastructure. He said, “The activities of terror outfits including Daish, once again reminds us of the gravity of the problem and demands a collective approach to tackle this international phenomenon.”
He said Afghanistan is determined to continue fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. He said peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the best interest of the region.
The Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister said his country attaches importance to have strong relations with all the regional countries for promotion of economic relations and meet the challenges. He said there is a need to enhance cooperation and coordination by all the members in the region to ensure peace and security in the region and to promote development.The meeting of the senior officials was also attended by the ambassadors of 14 participating countries of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.Pakistan is hosting the fifth Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, will jointly inaugurate the Ministerial Conference on Wednesday which will be attended by representatives and high ranking delegations including foreign ministers from 14 participating states, 17 supporting countries and 12 international and regional organizations.The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey. The main objective
of the Process is to foster efforts for regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace and stability as well as progress and development in Afghanistan, and the region.The fifth Ministerial Conference is expected to adopt a forward-looking Islamabad Declaration titled – ‘Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Connectivity in the Heart of Asia Region.’ The Declaration would underline commitments from the Heart of Asia countries and partners for sustained efforts towards promoting peace and security, economic development and connectivity in the