By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The city of Dushanbe in Tajikistan will host the ninth “Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process” ministerial conference starting on Monday, which will focus on building regional consensus around Afghan peace.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani will attend the meeting on its second day, March 30, and join representatives from at least 50 countries and international organizations, according to officials.
The meeting is expected to have a significant impact on the ongoing peace efforts for Afghanistan. “We need more coordination within Afghanistan and more coordination to ensure international and regional consensus for a just and enduring peace, a peace that preserves our gains. This is one of our main messages,” said the deputy minister of foreign affairs, Mirwais Nab.
The meeting will be held two weeks ahead of the upcoming peace conference in Turkey, which is expected to change the direction of the ongoing peace efforts.
“Talks are better than war. It will be effective to have talks on various issues with the participation of regional and neighboring countries,” said Mohammad Taqi Saberi, Iran’s ambassador to Tajikistan. “We hope that this conference achieves its expected result.”
“If we have peace in the region, it will be good for Afghanistan as well as for all of us to support economic development and people’s lives,” said the Indian ambassador to Tajikistan, Viraj Singh.
The participants will issue a statement at the end of the conference. The Heart of Asia conference was launched in 2011 as an initiative by Kabul and Ankara to help Afghanistan achieve peace. 15 countries are members of the conference and host it once every year.
The conference was not held in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.