Two-day Heart of Asia conference begins in Istanbul
The two-day Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process, which aims to promote durable peace and stability in Afghanistan, was inaugurated in Istanbul on Monday.
The theme of the conference is 'Peace, Partnership and Prosperity'.
The initiative "aims to enhance regional cooperation towards Afghanistan," the Turkish foreign ministry said.
During the meeting, Turkey handed over its co-chairmanship, which it assumed in 2017 at the 7th Ministerial Conference in Baku, to Tajikistan.
The Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process -- is a regional initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey, which was launched in 2011.
It has two chairs with Afghanistan as the permanent chair, and a co-chair from among the member states that shifts each year.
"The process aims to promote regional security, economic and political cooperation centered on Afghanistan through dialogue and confidence building measures," according to the organization's website.
The first ministerial conference of the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process was in 2011.
The event will be attended by the foreign ministers and high-ranking representatives of 15 participating countries, 16 supporting countries and 12 supporting regional and international organizations of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, according to a statement.
The conference will adopt and issue a declaration with renewed commitmentAto the vision of the process.
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and its "core objective" is to promote "durable peace and stability in Afghanistan."
President Ashraf Ghani left Kabul for Turkey on Sunday to attend the conference.
The officials of the two countries held a back-door meeting in Turkey on Sunday which was led by Munir Nab, the deputy foreign minister for economic cooperation and his Turkish counterpart Sedat Onal.
"It is an important process which is led by Afghanistan and can build coordination and cooperation within the region," Nab said, Tolo News reported.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday left for Turkey on a two-day official visit to attend the Heart of Asia Conference in Istanbul.
The members are Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkey.IANS