Four nations join hands for peace
* Zardari says non-state actors want to destabilise Afghanistan
DUSHANBE: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan on Sunday reiterated their resolve to promote and strengthen trade and economic cooperation in the region besides joining hands to fight the menace of terrorism, militancy and drug-trafficking for a “win-win situation”.
This was agreed during a quadrilateral meeting of President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.
The leaders of four nations, who were together for Nauroz celebrations hosted by Tajikistan, used the occasion to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the ways and means to strengthen trade and economic cooperation among their countries.
The president’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said President Zardari had stressed the need for enhanced regional cooperation to fight drug-trafficking and militancy.
The president said he had taken up the issue at international level and would continue to pursue it adding, “We must work together.”
In the context of regional energy cooperation, President Zardari said Pakistan was committed to realising and completing the Iran-Pakistan (IP) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects. “I look forward to work with you on all issues of mutual interest,” he added.
President Zardari said non-state actors wanted to destabilise Afghanistan, adding, “But Pakistan was committed to peace in the region, particularly Afghanistan. A stable Afghanistan is also in the interest of Pakistan.”
The president said that in the post-2014 geo-strategic scenario when foreign forces would leave Afghanistan, closer cooperation among the four brotherly countries in all fields, particularly defence, security and intelligence sharing assumed greater significance.
All the four leaders were unanimous in the view that terrorism and militancy posed a serious threat to peace, security and socio-economic development of the region and needed to be tackled jointly and through regional approach and solutions. They agreed that strong bonds among them needed to be translated into closer cooperation in trade, communication, transportation, energy and infrastructure for mutual benefit.
President Zardari said he was happy to be in the beautiful city of Dushanbe once again. “The ongoing Nauroz celebrations have added colours and a new spirit to this vibrant city,” he added.
The president extended his sincere wishes to the people of Tajikistan as they had come together to celebrate the Nauroz festival. “This joyous occasion represents peace, tolerance and friendship among all civilisations of the world,” he said.
“I and the entire nation of Pakistan join you in these celebrations of Nauroz festival,” Zardari said.
Afghan President Karzai and Iranian President Ahmedinejad also called for unity and solidarity among the regional countries. They said unity was needed for peace, progress and development of people of the region who shared common culture and heritage.
They also extended their heartiest felicitations to the people of Tajikistan on Nauroz celebrations and thanked Tajik president for inviting them to join the festivities.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon expressed his gratitude to the presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran for participating in the Nauroz celebrations, and said it was a great moment for the people of Tajikistan as leaders from brotherly countries had joined him in the festivities.
He also stressed the need for closer cooperation among the regional countries to realise the true potential of socio-economic development of the region for mutual interest. President Rahmon also hosted a banquet for President Zardari and other dignitaries. app