Date: 06 November 2017, 12:16, READ:
The "Heart of Asia” – Istanbul Process (HoA IP) 7th Ministerial Conference will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan under the theme "Security and Economic Connectivity towards a Strengthened Heart of Asia Region” between November 30 and December 1, 2017.
HoA IP Participating and Supporting countries and Organizations will take part at the 7th Ministerial Conference, which will be preceded by a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on November 30, 2017, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry told APA.
HoA IP 6th Ministerial Conference held in Amritsar, India on 4 December 2016 in its final Amritsar Declaration welcomed the willingness of the Republic of Azerbaijan to host the next Ministerial Conference of the HoA IP as Co-chair along with Afghanistan in 2017.
Within the Co-chairmanship of Azerbaijan of the HoA IP Senior Officials Meeting of HoA IP was held in Baku on March 17, 2017.
HoA-IP is an important regional platform for political dialogue and close regional cooperation aimed at promoting stability, peace and prosperity in the Heart of Asia region, and for enhancing Afghanistan's connectivity with the entire region.
HoA-IP participating states are the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, People's Republic of China, Republic of India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Russian Federation, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Nations. The process is also supported by wide range of other countries and international and regional organizations. Having strong intention to contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity and the traditional bonds of friendship with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan has joined HoA-IP in 2012.
With a view to integrating Afghanistan into the regional economy and reviving trade with its neighbors and beyond through increased regional connectivity Azerbaijan is engaged in active cooperation with Afghanistan. As the co-lead country together with Turkmenistan in the Regional Infrastructure Confidence Building Measures (CBM) of the Istanbul process, Azerbaijan will continue working with Afghanistan and other partners in this field. The next meeting of the regional technical group of the Regional Infrastructure CBM will be held in Baku on 27 November 2017.
The ongoing regional connectivity projects initiated by Azerbaijan, including, recently launched Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, the new Baku International Sea Trade Port, logistics center on the shores of the Caspian Sea, linking up railway networks of Azerbaijan and Islamic Republic of Iran represent qualitatively new achievement in developing trans-regional infrastructure with multi-modal capabilities along the East-West and North-South axes. These projects will facilitate Afghanistan’s access to global markets and provide connectivity in the region, capable of handling cargo and containers in a much shorter, faster, efficient and cost-effective way.
As the co-lead-country together with the Russian Federation in the Counter-Narcotics CBM of the Istanbul process, Azerbaijan works with Afghanistan and other partners in addressing illicit drug trafficking, which is indeed a grave threat to the region. The next meeting of the Counter-Narcotics CBM regional technical group is planned to take place on 10 November 2017 in Baku.
Through bilateral channels, Azerbaijan shares its experience with Afghanistan, and provides training assistance in good governance, defense, law-enforcement and mine action fields.
Azerbaijan also contributes to the post-ISAF "Resolute Support Mission” of NATO by providing troops, multimodal transit, training and financial assistance. Azerbaijan has already made donations to the Afghanistan National Army Trust Fund and pledged to continue to support this Fund.
As a Co-chair of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process and host of 7th Ministerial Conference, Azerbaijan remains committed to supporting further the stabilization, peaceful reconstruction and development of Afghanistan through bilateral efforts as well as within HoA-IP and other multilateral platforms.