Kabul Looks to Expand Regional Ties Ahead of Brussels Summit

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The National Unity Government (NUG) has moved to expand its trade, transit and economic relations with regional countries ahead of the key international summit on Afghanistan in Brussels in October.

While outlining the agenda for the upcoming summit, Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani on Wednesday said expanding Afghanistan’s economic, commercial and transit ties with the region will help to track economic vacuums, develop the private sector and enhance economic partnerships in the region.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) convened a meeting of delegates from European Union (EU) countries and foreign diplomats in Kabul to discuss ways to help Afghanistan improve its economic stability and socioeconomic development and to evalvatue the impact of economic partnerships in the region.

“the event will aim to achieve tangible regional cooperation to engage in highway level participation from regional countries generating political support, identifying financing gaps, presenting realistic economic cooperation projects and promoting trade and transit facilitation,” said Rabbani.

With the Brussels summit looming, the Afghan government has taken steps to outline its infrastructural and investment policies which also includes investment in human resources and connecting Afghanistan to the region.

“To reach our objectives, we have to divert attention on some key issues that include energy, in the sense that we have to take steps to produce energy within five or seven years, find ways to transfer energy to central Asia, Pakistan and onwards, and for projects similar to TAPI and CASA 1000,” said Homayoun Qayoumi, advisor to president Ashraf Ghani.

“we look at these areas of we concentrate our efforts in three key aspects, first of all in the area of energy. First internally how we can connect Afghanistan more internally, the development of national…..as part of our plan as well as getting enough generation so we can meet the needs of the country within the next five to seven years, secondly how we can connect to our neighboring countries,” he said.

He said that regional economic cooperation was key to boosting Afghanistan’s economic stability and development programs.

“The transit of trade products in the region is linked to the construction of highways and railway links. Let’s see how Afghanistan will be able to connect central Asia to Chabahar (port in Iran) and Gwadar (port in Pakistan) and onwards to warm waters,” he said.

The Afghan government as part of its commitments to the international community needs to undertake a number of comprehensive measures aimed at boosting national economic development, fighting corruption and improving good governance.

This comes less than two weeks after NATO leaders in Warsaw renewed their economic and military cooperation to Afghanistan.

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