Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan agree to eliminate terrorism, extremism

TEHRAN- Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan on Sunday reaffirmed their deep commitment to make every effort to eliminate extremism, militancy and terrorism from the region, stated a joint communique issued at the conclusion of one‑day trilateral summit. The communique was signed by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

It was agreed at the summit, which Tehran hosted, to address the root causes of terrorism and extremism, which are in stark contrast with the spirit of Islam and rich cultural traditions and customs of the region.

According to the joint communique, the three neighbours agreed to establish a mechanism for holding regular and periodical trilateral consultations on special issues.

These consultations will be attended by senior officials, foreign ministers and the heads of the state, or government of the three countries.

It was agreed to encourage cultural interactions, including exchange of parliamentary delegations, intellectuals, academicians etc. as well as promotion of people to people contacts.

The three countries agreed to strengthen trilateral cooperation to counter production and smuggling of narcotics and psychotropic substances and their illicit trafficking.

It was agreed to promote trilateral cooperation among the relevant institutions of the three countries to counter organised crimes such as illegal human trafficking, money laundering and arms smuggling.

Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan agreed to exchange experiences, information as well as embark on concerted efforts towards socio‑economic development in the region.

It was agreed to plan and implement trilateral economic projects in different areas including energy, transportation, industries, mining, agriculture, cattle‑breeding and environment.

Urgent steps will be taken for development of the infrastructure connectivity between the three countries which include construction of roads, railways and improving the existing ones.

The three countries will also collaborate closely in establishing and developing energy corridors in the region, including oil and gas pipelines and electricity networks.

Trilateral economic, industrial, planning commission and chambers of commerce will also be established.

The involvement of private sectors of the three countries will be encouraged in regional development programmes.

It was agreed to encourage ECO member states for the establishment of a free trade area in the region by 2015 as a priority task, which has been agreed in the 10th ECO Summit in Tehran this year.

The three countries agreed to coordinate and to pursue projects for trans‑regional cooperation especially with the framework of ECO and OIC.

The three sides agreed to promote cooperation in the areas of education, health, sports, culture and art.

It was agreed to create pull factors in Afghanistan for the voluntary and dignified return of refugees with the sustained and enhanced support of the international community and UNHCR.

The three sides agreed for the voluntary return of Afghan specialists to their homeland in order to assist rapid reconstruction of the country by attracting cooperation of the relevant international organisations such as UNHCR.

Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan emphasized the importance of reconstruction process in Afghanistan in order to achieve sustainable peace and economic development in that country with the support of international community.

The three sides emphasized further effective measures for implementation of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral agreements on trade and transit of goods between and through their countries.

The three sides reiterated their commitment to establish joint training centers aimed at achieving a proficient labor force.

They welcomed the World Bank offer of assistance to develop a plan jointly with the customs authorities of Afghanistan and Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iran to share customs information electronically.

It was agreed to establish a working group in order to conduct a feasibility study for setting up a Joint Investment Fund among the three countries.

It will follow up the adopted decisions by their leaders and also financially support the trilateral projects. The cases for using the resources of this fund will be determined by the relevant authorities of the three countries.

It was agreed to establish a trilateral coordination committee at the level of deputy foreign ministers of the three countries to prepare a comprehensive action plan to monitor the progress of trilateral cooperation.

The three countries will also invite, if required and by consensus, other countries to the future Summits under the trilateral process.