News / Asia

    Istanbul Meeting on Afghanistan Stresses Cooperation

    From left: Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Gul and Asif Ali Zardari in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 1, 2011.
    From left: Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Gul and Asif Ali Zardari in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 1, 2011.
    Dorian Jones

    In the second and final day of meetings on Afghanistan in Istanbul, Turkey, participants of the international conference focused on Afghan security and economic development as foreign troops prepare to leave the country by the end of 2014.

    Addressing the conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned there would be no hope of peace in his war-torn country without help from regional neighbors. Officials from some 20 countries and aid agencies who attended the conference stressed the need for cooperation, particularly on the question of security.

    At a press conference with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul said an important step had been taken for the region.

    Dubbed the "Istanbul process," the agreement, as Rassoul describes it, commits countries in the region to resist becoming safe havens for terrorists.

    "[The] process will allow countries in the heart of Asia to implement important confidence building measures, toward a more effective, broader and deeper regional cooperation that promotes security, stability and economic development in our region," said Rassoul.

    Pakistan has repeatedly been accused by both Washington and Kabul of providing tacit if not direct support to the Taliban insurgency, a charge Islamabad denies.

    But Islamabad is seen as playing an important role in bringing the Taliban to the peace table, and Karzai called on Pakistan to bring Taliban leaders into negotiations.  

    Although Karzai on Tuesday ruled out direct talks with the Taliban, Rassoul left the door open to future talks with the insurgent group.

    "We know that there are people among the Taliban and others that are willing to have peace under the conditions that I have proposed to you," he said. "I am confident and optimistic [we can] achieve peace [through this] process."

    Improved Afghan-Pakistan relations stressed

    Many other commitments were made during Wednesday's conference in Istanbul, not only in the field of security, but also in trade and education. Observers say the two days of meetings will ultimately be judged successful is if there is the start of a thaw in the icy relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Alistair Burt, Britain's Minister for Middle the East and South Asia, also stressed the importance of improved relations between the countries.

    "I made it clear this morning [that] the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan has to be very close," said Burt. "They both have a vested issue in dealing with scourge of terrorism, and we believe they both have a vested interest in making sure that those who can abide by the conditions set out by President Karzai for inclusion in the political process should come back into the political process."

    September's assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was heading peace efforts with the Taliban, resulted in the near collapse of relations between the countries. Kabul accuses Islamabad of being behind the Taliban suicide bomber who killed Rabbani, a charge Islamabad denies.

    Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and the Afghan president committed to a joint investigation of the assassination on Tuesday, following a trilateral summit with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Many consider the probe a potentially important step in rebuilding trust between the neighboring South Asian countries.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora