DUSHANBE, June 15, 2012, Asia-Plus – Tajik delegation, led by Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi, attended a regional conference on Afghanistan that took place in Kabul on June 14.

The Tajik MFA information department reports that speaking at the conference, Zarifi expressed satisfaction with work done by experts to create confidence building measures and noted that focus should be made on strengthening cooperation on providing security and fighting terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.

Tajik minister also pointed out the creation of the regional multifunctional vocational and technical center for training of personnel for Afghanistan’s economy.  He called on donor countries and international organizations to support projects aimed at reconstructing Afghanistan’s economy.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reports the in Kabul attended by top United Nations leadership ended with pledges by regional leaders to work together on security and economic development.  The high level participation from countries throughout the “Heart of Asia” as well as the rest of the international community, suggested the so-called Istanbul Process was gaining momentum.

Representatives from 28 countries took part in the talks. They were joined by delegations from 11 regional and international organizations, including the United Nations.

Some of the discussions at the meeting centered on a series of confidence building measures that could increase security and economic ties between countries in the region.  Altogether, 43 confidence building measures had previously been identified and work has begun on seven.

The issue of security and development were front and center in discussions. President Karzai said Afghanistan is “certain” it will complete a transition to handling its own security next year ahead of the withdrawal of international forces in 2014.

On the sidelines of the conference, Zarifi held a number of bilateral meetings in Kabul.  He, in particular, held meeting with  Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Pierre Morel, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, and Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s Foreign Minister.

Zarifi and Kubis exchanged views on the current situation in Afghanistan and the Central Asian region.

Zarifi’s meeting with Pierre Morel focused on cooperation between Tajikistan and the European Union.  The EU special representative informed Tajik minister of the process of preparation of the next EU-Central ministerial meeting.  Zarifi, for his part, highly appraised the level of cooperation between Tajikistan and the European Union and informed Mr. Morel of the current situation in the country and the region.

Zarifi and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi reportedly discussed bilateral economic cooperation between their countries and further expansion of cooperation between Tajikistan, Iran and Afghanistan on implementation of regional projects.