The UN Secretary General's report to the Security Council released on 18 June 2014 provides an update of UNAMA activities, including in the area of regional cooperation, since 7 March 2013, listed below. For a full copy of the latest report, click here.
C. Regional cooperation
1. During the reporting period, Afghanistan continued to actively engage with its neighbours and promote regional cooperation. China, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Pakistan were among the countries in the region to welcome the conduct of the first round of polling and to recognize the importance of a smooth political transition in Afghanistan for regional stability.
2. On 26 March, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, met with President Karzai in Kabul, where several agreements on cooperation were concluded, including between the ministries of the interior. On 27 March, on the sidelines of the regional Nawruz festivities hosted by President Karzai, the presidents of Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Pakistan and Tajikistan held a quadrilateral summit. In a joint statement, they reiterated the importance of constructive regional cooperation. This included support for ongoing Afghan-led regional efforts within the framework of the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan, as well as infrastructure projects to strengthen regional connectivity. The same day, the World Bank Group approved $526.5 million in grants and credit financing for the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000). This will put in place, in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, the infrastructure and the commercial and institutional arrangements required for a sustainable electricity trade.
3. On 19 May, the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, General Raheel Sharif, visited Kabul to attend the thirty-seventh trilateral security meeting between the heads of the Afghan and Pakistani armies and NATO. In the period that followed, Afghanistan and Pakistan exchanged mutual allegations of cross-border incursions. On 28 May, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan summoned the Ambassador of Pakistan to express strong objections to shelling in Kunar and Nuristan provinces and to the construction of military installations on what it claims is Afghan territory. On 31 May and 4 June, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan stated that insurgent groups based in Afghanistan had mounted attacks on checkpoints it claims were within Pakistan, and that three of its soldiers had been killed in the incidents. The Afghan authorities, in turn, stated that the Pakistani response to the incident of 31 May had included helicopter strikes inside Afghanistan that had resulted in civilian casualties. In protest, Afghanistan boycotted a regional security summit scheduled to take place in Islamabad on 4 June.
4. On the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia, President Karzai met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on 19 May. President Jinping hailed the smooth conduct of the first round of elections and, in looking to increase stability and economic self-reliance in the future, encouraged international investment in Afghanistan. President Karzai highlighted the common threat posed by terrorism and fundamentalism. In my meeting with President Karzai in Shanghai, I welcomed the continued progress in the electoral process and extended condolences on the recent flooding and landslides. On 26 May, President Karzai attended the swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi of the new Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and had a bilateral meeting, during which development and the threat of terrorism were discussed. On 30 and 31 May, the new Foreign Secretary of India, Sujatha Singh, visited Kabul and Herat, meeting with President Karzai and the two presidential candidates. Ms. Singh reiterated her Government’s resolve to reopen its consulate in Herat following the attack of 24 May.
5. During the reporting period, activities and technical meetings took place with a view to making progress on three of the confidence-building measures identified in the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan: a counter-improvised explosive device workshop, held in Kabul on 8 and 9 March, under the counter-terrorism confidence-building measure; an international conference on sharing experiences and developing a regional picture on hazards and risks for joint action plans, held in Islamabad on 12 and 13 May, under the disaster management confidence-building measure, followed by a regional technical group meeting; and a regional technical group meeting on trade, commerce and investment opportunities, held in New Delhi on 15 May, under the trade facilitation confidence-building measure, at which an action plan for 2014-2015 was developed. Preparations continued for the fourth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference, to be held in China in August 2014.
6. The International Contact Group on Afghanistan and Pakistan held a meeting in Tokyo on 15 May. Discussions focused on the status of the 2014 elections, arrangements for the upcoming Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework ministerial review meeting, to be held in London in late 2014, and continuing international support for Afghan security forces.