September 14, 2012 By Afghan Mission
The International Peace Institute (IPI), the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan and Turkey to the United Nations co-hosted a panel discussion at IPI to discuss Afghanistan’s significant progresses, as well as future challenges since the adoption of the November 2011 Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan. The lively discussion focused on the origins of the Istanbul Process, then transitioned to Afghanistan’s many efforts and advances in regional cooperation and collective security with the Heart of Asia countries and their partners. Regional safety and stability also depends heavily on Afghanistan’s multilateral cooperation with neighboring states such Turkey, as they continue to strengthen efforts towards security and prosperity in the region at large.
Ambassador Maureen Quinn (Senior Adviser, International Peace Institute) chaired the panel which included H.E Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey, H.E Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN spoke on the panel, as well as Dr. Keith Stanski (Senior Program Officer, Afghanistan Regional Project at New York University).
Ambassador Quinn introduced the speakers and opened the discussion reminding participants of the “tricky” nature of regionalism, noting some of the key questions that regional processes must address in order to ensure their success.
The first speaker, H.E Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan of Turkey, delivered a rich, informative presentation on the origins and developments of the Istanbul Progress, highlighting its essential goals and objectives. He described the long-term partnership between Afghanistan and Turkey tracing back to the 1920s when the countries were first establishing independence.
Following H.E Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, H.E Ambassador Zahir Tanin, expressed the Istanbul Process as a “unique endeavor, whereby Afghanistan is at the center of a new effort in our wider region, supported by international partners to realize peace and prosperity in Afghanistan, the region, and beyond.” Characterizing and highlighting key features of the Istanbul process, Ambassador Tanin went on to identify the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), which have provided a framework for countering concerns in the areas of terrorism, narcotics, and disaster management, while mobilizing institutional cooperation among national chambers. This includes the preparation of a “Concept Paper” which prioritized 7 of the 43 CBM’s relating to the “political and security; economic and education” fields.
Ambassador Zahir Tanin went on to highlight “Three Key Outcomes” of the Conference, which included political consultations, CBM implementation and synergy among regional organizations. The Istanbul Process is distinctive in nature because of its element of inclusivity. It calls for the participation and cooperation of neighboring states, and organizations as well as support from international partners.
Dr. Keith Stanski described the promise the Istanbul Process holds, as well as described the major factors which will effect its outcome. He explained the unique nature of the Istanbul Process from other regional processes in that it ambitiously encompasses a wide range of issues and seeks to coordinate many specific regional efforts that are already in place.
The panel was followed by a lively question and answer session with a packed room of participants.