Sochi summit for jt strategy on anti-terror, regional security
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 23:33
Moscow: Top leaders of Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan on Wednesday agreed to intensify their joint strategy against terrorism and drug trafficking and launch joint developmental projects in the volatile region at a key quadrilateral summit in Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The situation in Afghanistan, fight against international terrorism and illegal drug trafficking were the focus of quadrilateral talks between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his counterparts from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after the one-day summit in Sochi.

Medvedev, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Tajik head of state Emomali Rahmon today agreed to jointly work on these issues.

"The four leaders have signed a statement expressing to jointly work on these issues," Lavrov was quoted as saying Russia Today TV.

According to official news agency ITAR-TASS, Medvedev, who sees economic development of the region as the key to end terror threat, urged his interlocutors to "revisit" Soviet-era economic and infrastructural project in their countries, in which Moscow could actively take part.

Lavrov said that after their second meeting, the Quartet has agreed to have regular meetings of their economy and foreign ministers in this format to promote cooperation and development.

He said at the proposal of Tajikistan, the next Quadrilateral summit will be held in Dushanbe next year.

Earlier today, the Russian leader had bilateral meetings with Karzai and Zardari, at which he expressed Moscow's willingness to closely interact with them in the Afghan peace process and the development of energy, transport and other infrastructure projects.

NTV channel in its comments said there are a lot of differences between Afghanistan and Pakistan as Karzai has directly accused Islamabad of backing Taliban opposing his government.

Russia promised all possible support to Pakistan in dealing with catastrophic floods, even as the second Russian Il-76 cargo plane with emergency relief was set for Islamabad.

"This is a severe disaster which caused many deaths and unfortunately brought great damage. We mourn with you and are ready to provide assistance to the Pakistani people. You can count on us," Medvedev told Zardari,

"We would like to continue cooperating in fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and international crimes. That's why everything we discussed earlier could be continued, even though there is a good political dialogue, it is very important to develop economic ties," Medvedev said in his televised remarks at bilateral meeting with Zardari.

Medevedev also assured his Afghan counterpart of all help in combating terrorism and restoring peace in the war-torn country.

"Russia definitely supports efforts of Afghanistan in restoring civic peace in the country," Medvedev told Karzai during the meeting.

"We back the struggle of the Afghan government against terrorism and are ready to provide aid in this direction," the Russian President said.

He also pledged economic and other assistance to Afghanistan in its developmental projects.

Medvedev, however, said the problem of illegal drug trafficking from Afghanistan is a matter of concern for Russia.

"However, it would be wrong to project it as only Afghanistan's problem, this is a regional problem, a problem for Russia also. We will give you all possible help in fighting it," Medvedev said in his televised remarks.

At the first quadrilateral summit in Tajik capital Dushanbe in July 2009, Russia had proposed to develop regional cooperation, trade and economic interaction in the new format, including the development of infrastructure for transport and energy linkages between Central Asia and South Asia (CASA).

Pakistan President Zardari underlined the need for greater cooperation among the regional countries to effectively tackle the complex challenges of security and development.

"Terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, organized crime, need to be seen in terms of their root causes. They thrive on ignorance, deprivation and poverty," Zardari said at the second Quadrilateral summit in Sochi today.

"Our countries need greater cooperation to effectively tackle them," he was quoted as saying by the Pakistan government-run APP news agency.

Zardari also underlined the need for deepening cooperation economic and commercial relations to boost energy and infrastructure connectivity.

He said Pakistan recognises Russia's key role in promoting peace, stability and development in Afghanistan and our extended neighborhood.

"We are meeting in Sochi at a sobering and tragic moment. Our region is once again struck by unprecedented natural disasters", he said with reference to the worst ever devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan.

On Afghanistan, Zardari said Pakistan has a keen interest in early restoration of stability and peace in the restive nation.

"We fully support the Kabul Process. Afghanistan needs continued engagement of the international community for ensuring stability and promoting development," he underlined.

On the reintegration and reconciliation process initiated by the Afghan government, Zardari said such political process has to be comprehensive, inclusive, Afghan-led.

The President said all neighboring and regional countries must respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.


First Published: Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 23:33

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