Adela Raz (Simmons 2008 | Tufts Fletcher School 2010), Deputy Foreign Minister of Economic Affairs of Afghanistan, attended the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, “Security and Economic Connectivity towards a Strengthened Heart of Asia Region” in Baku, Azerbaijan last week. The purpose of the conference, attended by high-level delegations from supporting countries, regional and international organizations, is to provide a platform to explore collective approaches for advancing regional security and economic cooperation. Specifically addressed were the challenges of terrorism, radicalism and criminality as well as ways to disrupt all financial, tactical and logistical support for terrorism region-wide.
Outcomes of the conference included the signing of bilateral agreements by Afghanistan and Azerbaijan in five areas: Security, Trade and Economy, Higher Education, Promotion and Protection of Investments and Air Services. The conference culminated in the signing of the Baku Declaration, which reaffirms and puts the work of the 7th Ministerial Conference in the context of the six preceding conferences in Amritsar, Islamabad, Beijing, Almaty, Kabul and Istanbul as well as the UN Charter, Security Council Resolutions and Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. The declaration also sets forth principles and calls for actions by government and non-government organizations to address peace, security and economic issues discussed at the conference, including the topics of narcotics and organized crime, and refugees and returnees.
Congratulations to Adela and her team on a successful conference toward a peaceful, prosperous and autonomous Afghanistan!