HoA conference calls for concerted co-op to ensure dismantling of terrorists' safe havens

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Dushanbe, Mar 30 (PTI) A key conference on Afghanistan on Tuesday called for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, preventing movement of terrorists across the countries and disrupting all financial, tactical, logistical or any other form of support for terrorism without any distinction.

A declaration issued after the 9th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) Ministerial Conference here in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, said the member states 'remain determined to counter all forms and manifestations of terrorism and extremism by reinforcing our collective efforts.' 'We strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, preventing and interdicting the movement of terrorists and terrorist groups, including foreign terrorist fighters, across the countries of the HoA Region and anywhere else, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical, logistical or any other form of support for terrorism without any distinction,' it said.

The conference was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi among others.

The declaration strongly condemned the continuing violence in Afghanistan, especially the high number of civilian causalities and deliberate targeting of civil service employees, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and media workers by the Taliban and terrorist groups.

'While condemning in the strongest terms, all terrorist activities in all forms and manifestations as being criminal and unjustifiable; we emphasize the need for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, resume meaningful peace negotiations and full respect for International Humanitarian Law,' it said.

The member states also expressed concerns about the continued relations between the Taliban and international terrorist groups, including Al-Qaida, and reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used as safe havens for any terrorist groups or foreign terrorist entities.

'We reiterate our resolve to work together to prevent and suppress terrorist acts through increased regional and international solidarity and cooperation, in accordance with the UN Charter and obligations under international law,” it said.

The declaration said that the member states support the ongoing efforts for the peace process and the continuation of the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

While recognising the importance and contributions of neighbouring countries and regional and international partners, the declaration called upon them to maximize their efforts for the success of the peace process.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) ministerial conference is part of the Istanbul Process - a regional initiative on security and cooperation for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan - that was launched on November 2, 2011 in Turkey. PTI ZH AKJ ZH ZH