President Ghani arrives in Tajikistan

President Ghani arrives in Tajikistan to attend Heart of Asia conference

President Ghani, heading a high-level delegation, arrived in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, earlier today, March 29, on a two-day visit to attend the 9th meeting of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.

Ghani will deliver a speech at the meeting of the Istanbul Process foreign ministers, the Presidential Palace said in a statement. He will also meet with Tajikistan President Emamali Rahman, the country’s Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker.

They will discuss the bilateral ties and mutual cooperation between the two neighboring countries in different areas, according to the statement.

The meeting is set to be kicked off tomorrow, March 30, and will be attended by 13 foreign ministers of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process. Tajik and Afghan foreign ministers will co-host the meeting, said Gran Hewad, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Strengthening regional consensus in support of the Afghan peace process and bolstering political, economic, and security cooperation in the region are the key topics that will be discussed during the meeting, according to Mr. Hewad.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) was founded on November 2nd, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. This platform was established to address the shared challenges and interests of Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners.

The Heart of Asia is comprised of 15 participating countries, 17 supporting countries, and 12 supporting regional and international organizations. Turkey that hosts the upcoming Istanbul conference on the Afghan peace process is a participating member.

The meeting comes ahead of Istanbul conference on the Afghan peace process set to be held in April during which the Afghan warring sides are supposed to directly discuss a US proposal that includes establishing an interim administration and also a ceasefire.

The proposal, however, has been followed by serious criticisms of the Afghan government and its leading officials.

In the latest counter-attempts to the proposal, President Ghani has prepared a counter-offer to the US in which he will propose holding an early presidential election in the upcoming Istanbul conference if the Taliban agree to a ceasefire, Reuters reported on March 23.

The 8th meeting between foreign ministers of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was held in December 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey.