May 242015

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister, Hekmat Khalil Karzai, is due in Islamabad on Sunday, to represent his country in the meeting of senior officials at the “Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process,” Afghan officials said.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 to bring together regional countries to promote peace and prosperity in Afghanistan through concerted efforts of participating and supporting countries as well as international and regional organisations engaged in the process.

Read: Afghanistan urges China to press Pakistan to make sincere efforts towards peace talks

Karzai will be accompanied by four senior officials of the ministry of foreign affairs, an Afghan embassy official told The Express Tribune.

The Foreign Ministry in Islamabad says the meeting will be co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, and Mr. Hekmat Karzai, who is the cousin of former President Hamid Karzai.

Pakistan will host the meeting of the senior officials of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Islamabad on Monday.

It will host the fifth Ministerial Conference at Islamabad later this year.

The meeting will discuss several issues including the preparation for the Ministerial Conference to be held in Islamabad later this year. The last ministerial meeting was held in Beijing in October 2014.

The deliberations in these meetings would form the basis for the Islamabad Declaration, to be endorsed by Heart of Asia countries and organizations during the Ministerial Conference, the Foreign Ministry said.

Read: Consulate in Peshawar: Envoy summoned over detention of Afghan mission officials

Representatives from other twelve participating countries, sixteen supporting countries and twelve regional and international organizations have been invited to attend the meeting.

As the co-chair, Pakistan will take the initiative to take the process forward from the Beijing conference held in October 2014, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“It will play a lead role in various activities of the process, including three senior officials meetings to discuss topics pertaining to the theme of this year’s Ministerial Conference i.e. Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process: Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Economic Connectivity.”

Pakistan and Afghanistan had been involved in a series of discussions to make the upcoming Ministerial Conference a success.

Director General, Afghan Regional Cooperation Directorate, Ms. Roya Rahmani, visited Islamabad between April 29-30 and Pakistani officials had reiterated during the meeting to closely coordinate with Afghanistan to lead the participating and supporting countries in achieving tangible results from the process.

Chinese President Xi Jinping assured Pakistan of China’s full support to the Ministerial Conference

“I assured the President of Pakistan’s continued engagement with regional and international processes in support of Afghanistan. As co-chair of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul process during 2015, we would steer the process in line with the Afghan priorities and aspirations,” President Xi had said in his address to the parliament in Islamabad.

The post Afghan deputy foreign minister due in Pakistan for Heart of Asia moot appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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