By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has described as extremely important the continuation of joint efforts to fight terrorism and separatism, Trend has reported.
He made the remarks at the 9th "Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process" ministerial conference in Tajikistan, Dushanbe.
The minister said that the conference provided a good opportunity for assessing the important work carried out within the framework of the Istanbul Process and identifying further directions for common efforts to address serious problems that Afghanistan and the entire region faces.
He stressed the importance of the event in terms of the commitments of all participating countries, as well as supporter states and international organizations, to achieve the common goal of ensuring Afghanistan's security and prosperity.
Bayramov added that Azerbaijan is committed to supporting stability and development in Afghanistan through bilateral efforts and active participation in multilateral platforms.
“Azerbaijan is closely monitoring the internal peace processes in Afghanistan and hopes that sustainable peace and security will be restored in the country based on respect for its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity,” he said.
The minister stressed that Azerbaijan regards the Istanbul Process as a valuable mechanism for achieving peace, security, and economic development in Afghanistan.
“Azerbaijan is one of the first and most active supporters of Afghanistan in efforts to cope with the existing problems. Since joining this process in 2012, we have been actively participating in this multi-stakeholder platform. Azerbaijan is committed to advancing the Istanbul Process, acting as one of the leading participating countries,” Bayramov said.
The minister went on to say that Azerbaijan still believes that the progress and prosperity, economic development and regional cooperation of Afghanistan are linked to each other and depend on the general regional security.
"To maintain the made progress, it is essential to continue to address the security challenges facing Afghanistan. Expanding its practical contribution to education, infrastructure development, investment and financial assistance, Azerbaijan remains committed to supporting Afghanistan,” the minister said.
Bayramov said that the ongoing regional projects initiated by Azerbaijan represent a qualitatively new achievement.
He said that regional projects initiated by Azerbaijan, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, the new Baku International Sea Trade Port, a logistics centre on the Caspian coast connecting the railway networks of Azerbaijan and Iran, represent a qualitatively new achievement in the development of multi-modular opportunities for trans-regional infrastructure along the East-West and the North-South corridors.
"The Lapis-Lazuli route agreement between Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Turkmenistan is an agreement on a major international trade and transport corridor that directly connects Afghanistan with Europe. This is an important milestone in efforts to coordinate by building and improving infrastructure to expand Afghan trade across Eurasia. Azerbaijan is satisfied with its contribution as a party to the agreement in providing Afghanistan with a multilateral choice in transit and transport," Bayramov added.
The minister noted that these projects will facilitate Afghanistan's entry into global markets and ensure the coordination of faster and more efficient management of cargo and container transport in the region.
The "Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process" is a regional initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey, launched in 2011. This format is a platform for political dialogue and regional cooperation to promote stability, peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region as a whole. The participants in the Istanbul Process are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the UAE.
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