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Heart of Asia summit ends with pledge to tackle terror

Islamabad: The fifth Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan ended today with a commitment from member states to address the menace of terrorism and to foster close economic cooperation to stabilise the war-torn country.
Leaders and ministers from 14 member countries, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, 17 supporting nations and officials of 12 organisations attended the two-day meet here that adopted the Islamabad Declaration which also called on all Afghan Taliban groups to enter into peace talks.

Pakistan’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghan foreign minister Salahauddin Rabbani announced the declaration at the joint press conference. Aziz said that the conference was a major success as the participants agreed on close cooperation in stabilising Afghanistan.

Rabbani shared the major points of the declaration in which the participants affirmed to respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence and follow the principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.

He said that it was decided that militancy was major threat for Afghanistan and the region and joint efforts were needed to address it.

“We recognise that terrorism and violent extremism are constant and serious threats to regional and international peace, security, stability and economic growth,” according to the declaration.

It reiterated that terrorism, extremism and separatism, and linkages among them, pose a serious challenge to many of the countries, as well as the region and beyond, which can only be addressed through concerted efforts.

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