New York, 21 September 2017 – On the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the second Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was held on 21 September 2017.
The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Araz Azimov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan and H.E. Ms. Adela Raz, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan. H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and other Senior Officials and representatives from participating and supporting countries of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process as well as supporting regional and international organizations participated and addressed the meeting.
The participants praised the achievements made so far under the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) and stressed the importance of the Process as a regional platform for expanding regional cooperation and promoting peace and security in Afghanistan and the wider region. The participants reiterated their commitments to support Afghanistan in achieving sustainable peace, security, and economic development.
The participants expressed their concern about security challenges posed by terrorism and terrorist networks in Afghanistan and the region, recognizing terrorism and extremism as the biggest security challenge threatening the peace and stability of Afghanistan and regional countries. In this regard, the meeting called for adopting a cohesive and comprehensive approach for tackling the menace of terrorism. The participants also stressed the importance of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.
The issue of drug production and trafficking was also recognized as a common social, economic and security challenge in Afghanistan, the region, and the world. To this end, the meeting stressed the need for a joint and collective action to address this challenge entirely.
The Republic of Azerbaijan as co-chair and co-host of the HoA-IP announced the decision of the Government of Azerbaijan to host the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process on 1 December 2017, in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Ministerial Conference will be preceded by a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on 30th November, and delegations will arrive on 29th November.
Afghanistan informed the meeting that the Baku zero draft declaration, prepared by co-chairs, has been circulated for comments and views and encouraged participating countries of the HoA-IP to share their comments on the draft which is open for further discussions.
The Republic of Turkey informed the meeting of a course on “Financial aspects of combating Terrorism” on 28 November and 1st December 2017 and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as lead country of the Counter Narcotics Confidence Building Measure (CN-CBM), informed the meeting of the holding a Regional Technical Group meeting on 29 September 2017, in Baku.
Afghanistan briefed the meeting on the political and security challenges as well as the preparations for the upcoming RECCA VII and the participants underlined the importance of creating synergies between HoA-IP and other regional organizations and mechanisms such as RECCA for the betterment of the HoA-IP.
The meeting expressed its appreciation to the lead countries of the 6 CBMs for their efforts in the implementation of action plans. In this regard, the meeting underscored the role of supporting countries and supporting regional organizations and encouraged their further engagement and support.
The meeting highlighted the importance of holding political consultations and building regional consensus for attaining the goals of the HoA-IP which are lasting peace, stability, and prosperity.