The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process – 8th Ministerial Conference | Declaration – Peace, Partnership, Prosperity
We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and high-level representatives of the participating countries, joined by the high level representatives of the supporting countries and of the international and regional supporting organizations, having met in Istanbul, Turkey on 9 December 2019 at our 8th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP), under co-chairmanship of H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey and H.E. Mr. Idrees Zaman, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,
Expressing our gratitude to H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey and H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for inaugurating the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process,
Recalling and reaffirming our commitments to the principles, objectives, and outcomes of the Declarations of HoA-IP Ministerial Conferences held in Istanbul (2011), Kabul (2012), Almaty (2013), Beijing (2014), Islamabad (2015), Amritsar (2016) and Baku (2017) for promoting peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia Region,
Reaffirming that the HoA-IP is a unique and important platform for enhancing dialogue, building trust and promoting regional political, security and economic cooperation among regional countries,
Reaffirming our commitment to the United Nations Charter and its enshrined principles and goals,
Reiterating the obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the political independence, territorial integrity, or sovereignty of any state and the importance of increased political dialogue and consultation between the Heart of Asia countries for a stable, peaceful and prosperous region,
Reaffirming our commitment to develop friendly relations among HoA-IP participating countries based on good neighborly relations, peaceful co-existence, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,
We appreciate the Afghan people for braving the threat and intimidation and exercising their democratic rights to vote in the Presidential elections held on September 28, 2019. We appreciate the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) for their role in smooth and secure conduct of elections,
1. We stress the need to advance regional cooperation as an effective and necessary means to address common challenges and to promote security, stability and socio-economic development in the Heart of Asia Region. To this common end, we renew our commitment to strengthening enhanced cooperation among participating countries in an effective manner.
2. We reaffirm our appreciation and express our strong and unequivocal support for the ongoing constructive efforts and commitments of the Government of Afghanistan to promote regional connectivity and the development of infrastructure links as well as building an environment of increased trust.
3. We recognize the need to strengthen trust and cooperation in the region in order to meaningfully promote the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and its surrounding region. We agree to actively participate in a process of continuous and effective dialogue between Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbors concerning all mutually agreed upon issues of common interest and importance for Afghanistan and the region as a whole.
Political and Security Cooperation
4. We recognize terrorism, extremism conducive to terrorism and violence and linkages among them, as the gravest challenges of our time to peace, security and sustainable development of Afghanistan, the Heart of Asia Region and the international state system in general. We reaffirm that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.
5. As the fight against terrorism is a major priority for all Heart of Asia participating countries, we reiterate our resolve to work together to prevent and suppress terrorist acts through increased regional solidarity and cooperation, in accordance with the UN Charter and obligations under the international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law and, where applicable the international refugee law , as well as through the full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions, the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and the relevant international conventions. We express our determination to continue to work with and support the United Nations Office on Counter Terrorism.
6. We strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, preventing and interdicting the movement of terrorists and terrorist groups, including foreign terrorist fighters, across the countries of the HoA Region and anywhere else, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical, logistical or any other support for terrorism without any distinction. In this regard, we call upon all states to take further actions against the terrorist entities including those listed as such by the United Nations Security Council.
7. We reaffirm our recognition made in Islamabad in the 5th HoA-IP Ministerial Conference that extremism conducive to terrorism facilitates, encourages, incites and justifies acts of terrorism and violence and we are committed to take all relevant measures and cooperate to prevent and counter terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism. We recognize the necessity of taking serious measures to address radicalization and recruitment of youth by terrorist networks and their supporters. We realize that radicalization, especially of youth, can only be prevented by effective de-radicalization and counter-radicalization strategies involving all the HoA-IP participating countries.
8. Taking into consideration the importance of HoA-IP as a regional platform for addressing regional threats, we believe that a concerted and coherent regional approach is required to combat the menace of terrorism. Participating Countries welcome the Regional Technical Group meetings where the draft of the regional counter-terrorism strategy was discussed, on 15 September 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan and on 14 November 2018 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
9. We remain gravely concerned by the high level of violence in Afghanistan and the HoA Region by the Taliban and terrorist groups including those referenced in the previous HoA Declarations. Having a symbiotic relationship with organized crime, these terrorist groups continue to pose grave threats to the security and stability of our nations, violating the sovereignty and security of our countries with impacts on the political and geo-political situation in our region. While Afghanistan continues to fight at the forefront of the war against these terrorist groups, the HoA-IP participating countries support the efforts of the government and people of Afghanistan towards peace and reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban and its fight against terrorist groups.
10. We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks throughout this year in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, and the HoA Region by the Taliban and terrorist groups that took lives of hundreds of innocent people, causing hundreds of injuries and destruction of public and private properties.
11. We commend the ANDSF in fighting terrorist groups, and call for continued resolute and collective efforts against Daesh/ISIS, and other terrorist groups, and their local enablers and facilitators, including in the north of Afghanistan. In this regard, we acknowledge the recent gains by ANDSF in Eastern Afghanistan against Daesh where hundreds of Daesh fighters have been disarmed, and their operational bases have been captured, destroyed and dismantled.
12. We welcome the agreements between the International Community and the Government of Afghanistan that provide for continued financial and military-technical support and assistance to the ANDSF until 2024, as well as the training, advice and assistance provided to them by post ISAF Mission and other international stakeholders. We also pay tribute to the sacrifices made by the ANDSF and international forces.
13. We are concerned about the high level of illicit cultivation and production of opium in Afghanistan, the volume of drug trafficking, drug trade, trafficking of precursors, the new prevalence of amphetamine and the rising demand for illicit narcotics in the HoA Region and beyond. This poses a threat to the socio-economic development, security and stability not only in Afghanistan, but also in the surrounding region and the world as a whole. Further eradication of opium cultivation, promotion of alternative livelihoods, law enforcement, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and public information efforts are required as part of a comprehensive and integrated strategy to address this common challenge, based on the principle of common and shared responsibility, and consistent with the international drug control Conventions.
14. We take note of the Regional Conference held on 9-10 October 2017 in Kabul to discuss the problem of illicit narcotics and make efforts to draft a counter narcotics regional strategy. In this regard, we request Afghan side to share officially to HoA Countries the initial draft of regional counter narcotics strategy. We task our senior officials to discuss and finalize the text of the strategy throughout the year. We also welcome the High-level International Conference on ‘Promoting Afghanistan’s Alternative Development Initiatives Amongst Regional and International Partners’ which was held on 16-17 November 2017 by UNODC in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. We support alternative development measures that should be promoted within the framework of comprehensive strategies for crop control, preventing drug trade and precursors trafficking, including eradication and law enforcement. We believe it is essential to implement a comprehensive approach in addressing the drug problem in Afghanistan, the HoA Region and globally.
15. We stress the urgent need to respond to the serious challenges posed by the nexus between revenue from illicit narcotics and financial support for anti-government actors and terrorist entities in Afghanistan, the HoA Region, and globally. We emphasize the need to accelerate efforts on implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action of 2009, the Ministerial Statement of 2014 by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the outcome document of the Thirtieth Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) entitled ‘Our Joint Commitment to Effectively Addressing Encountering the World Drug Problem’ held in April 2016 and the Ministerial Declaration of 2019 by the Commission of Narcotic Drugs. We also take note of the efforts of Afghanistan and the UNODC for holding a Joint Regional Conference on Counter-terrorism and Counter-narcotics on 22 July 2019 in Almaty, Kazakhstan in which a number of HoA Countries participated.
Peace and Reconciliation Efforts
16. We acknowledge the demand of the Afghan people for a lasting peace and an end to war and urge all sides to reduce violence immediately, to foster an environment in which direct negotiations that include the Afghan government, the Taliban and other Afghans can begin as soon as possible. We further call on all sides to commit to a ceasefire for the duration of intra-Afghan negotiations to enable participants to reach an agreement on a political roadmap for Afghanistan’s future and on a permanent cease-fire that ends the war.
17. We recognize that an inclusive politically negotiated settlement remains key for durable peace in Afghanistan. We acknowledge all intra-Afghan efforts leading to cessation of violence and durable peace in Afghanistan, including the Moscow Format Consultations, China-Russia-US trilateral consultations on Afghanistan and the China-Russia-US-Pakistan four-party meeting, Kabul Process and the continuation of the US talks with the Taliban that leads to the immediate cessation of violence and lasting peace in Afghanistan. We therefore stress the central importance of a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict and a comprehensive political settlement and welcome real progress in this regard.
18. We urgently call on all the concerned parties for the start of the direct peace talks for a political settlement and lasting peace in Afghanistan. While recognizing the importance of the contributions of neighboring countries and regional partners in this process, we urge all those countries in the region and beyond to use their leverage and influence to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table for the purpose of finding a peaceful and permanent political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. We stress the necessity of meaningful participation of women in the peace process.
19. We recognize the important role of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process that brings regional and international friends and partners of Afghanistan as platform for bridging differences, unifying positions and forging a common understanding in support of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process that leads to cessation of violence and lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Refugees & Returnees
20. We commend countries in the region and beyond for their hospitality and all kinds of support in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for four decades. We acknowledge the role of regional and neighboring countries in particular Iran and Pakistan in hosting Afghan refugees for such a long time and call for creating conducive conditions in Afghanistan for voluntary, safe dignified and sustainable return of the refugees to their homeland. In respecting the well-being and human rights of the refugees, we urge the international community to continue to assist host countries in taking care of the essential needs of Afghan refugees and to provide support and targeted assistance for their voluntary and dignified repatriation and their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan, with emphasis on youth, education and livelihoods. The international community should also continue to assist the host communities in taking care of the essential needs of Afghan refugees living in these countries.
21. We take note of the Afghanistan-Iran-UNHCR and Afghanistan-Pakistan-UNHCR Tripartite Commissions on Voluntary Repatriation of Afghan Refugees from Iran and Pakistan as vital steps in the Solutions Strategy and support the Final Statement of the ‘UNHCR Executive Committee High Level Segment’ refocusing the international community’s attention on the Afghan refugee situation in this critical period. Participating Countries urge donors to continue to donate to the UNHCR to support the repatriation grant – which has been halved – for voluntary repatriation to its previous levels.
22. We acknowledge the crucial role of Afghanistan as a natural land bridge in promoting regional connectivity and economic integration in the HoA Region, and we reiterate our strong support for Afghanistan’s efforts to use its geographic location to enhance regional economic cooperation, sustainable connectivity and integration in the wider region. We further stress that, as highlighted in the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan held in November 2018, connectivity and economic development will contribute to achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. Sustainable regional connectivity will create the necessary dividends for peace, such as job creation and social equality. In this regard, Participating Countries welcome the promising progress made with respect to the practical implementation of the following regional cooperation projects: Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline (TAPI) Project; Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA 1000); Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan 500-kV Electricity Transmission Project (TAP 500-kV); Five Nations Railway including regarding the completion of the 3rd phase and the ongoing steps towards the construction of the fourth phase of Khaf-Herat as well as Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat railway. We further note the completion of Turghondi-Serhetabat railway and its extension to Herat, the first stage of the Asian International Railway Corridor between Imamnazar (Turkmenistan) and Aqina (Afghanistan), the initial stages of TAT linking Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan projects as well as the ongoing work on Surkhon – Pule Khumri electricity line. We recognize the progress made in expanding the air cargo corridors between Afghanistan and regional countries including China, India, Kazakhstan Turkey, Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and EU. All countries associated with the Belt and Road Initiative welcome the ongoing work under the MoU on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Road between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as it relates to Afghanistan.
23. Participating Countries are encouraged by the continued commitment of regional countries to establish significant North-South and East-West corridors within the HoA Region with a focus on the development of infrastructure connecting Afghanistan and the region to seaports. We also welcome 24/7 operationalization of Torkham crossing by Pakistan to facilitate Afghan transit trade. We also note the significant ongoing steps taken by Afghanistan, Iran and India on the operationalization of their transport and transit agreement based on sea access through Chabahar. We recognize the crucial significance of ensuring multiple sea and land access required by Afghanistan to markets in the region and beyond. In this context, we are encouraged by the progress in the implementation of the Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement and support the ongoing efforts. These corridors will provide additional and dependable access for Afghanistan and the wider region to regional and global markets. We also emphasize the importance of promoting quality infrastructure and recognize that regional cooperation and connectivity initiatives and projects shall respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. We encourage all the Participating Countries to continue to facilitate swift and unhindered transit and passage to Afghanistan for the movement of Afghan goods.
24. We acknowledge the necessity to maximize the speed of movement of goods across the region, and in this context, we agree to collaborate more closely in removing the non-tariff barriers to trade and transit, establishing and implementing bilateral and multilateral transit-trade framework agreements. In this regard, we stress the urgent need to integrate, through the land route, South Asia and Central Asia through the expansion of existing bilateral trade and transit agreements both northwards and southwards.
25. We recognize the importance of the role of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the economic growth and income generation in the HoA region. We commit to undertaking measures to strengthen the growth of SMEs, including women entrepreneurship, and enable their expansion across borders into other countries of the region. We stress the importance of market access for SMEs in particular for women entrepreneurs. In this regard, we approve the establishment of Women Empowerment CBM.
26. Stressing the critical role of science, technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we welcome the operationalization of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries in Turkey and encourage all development partners to provide financial and technical assistance to ensure their full and effective implementation, with a focus on the needs of Afghanistan. We further support the establishment of the International Think Thank for LLDCs and the ongoing efforts in this framework.
27. We recognize the important role of RECCA as a regional platform for promoting economic cooperation in Afghanistan and the region. In this regard, we support the implementation of the priority regional projects as outlined under the declaration of the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) held on 14-15 November 2017 in Ashgabat. We look forward to the next RECCA Ministerial Meeting to be held in Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan. We stress the importance of greater synergy between RECCA and HoA-IP and commend the ongoing efforts to this end.
28. Participating Countries recognize the important role of regional organizations covering different combinations of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process participating countries. In particular, we highlight the role of Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (UNSPECA), and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), in the context of cooperation towards enhanced security and economic development in the region.
29. The Participating Countries welcome Afghanistan’s active participation in the regional organizations it is currently a member of, including SAARC, ECO, CICA, ACD, UNSPECA and CAREC. They also recognize Afghanistan and Iran’s official requests to become full members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In this regard, Participating Countries welcome the resumption work of SCO-Afghanistan contact group on the sideline of the SCO Summit that was held in Kazakhstan in 2017 and appreciate the Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Kyrgyzstan for hosting the first, second and third meetings of this Group respectively. Participating countries also welcome signing of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group Road Map for further actions on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Bishkek in 2019.
30. We underline the need to strengthen the relations of HoA-IP with other regional organizations, as well as conducting a study and exploring some areas of cooperation for developing a better framework of cooperation and present their suggestions to the Senior Officials Meetings of the HoA-IP.
Role of International Community
31. We appreciate the long-term partnership and commitment of the International Community for supporting the government and people of Afghanistan and stress the crucial need for continuation of such support for achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan based on their renewed mutual commitments, as laid down in the Self-reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework, as agreed upon at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan on 5 October 2016, with the aim of strengthening national ownership and leadership. We also take note with appreciation of the Geneva Conference held on 27-28 November 2018 as a follow up on the implementation of the commitments made at the Brussels Conference.
32. We call on the International Community to further strengthen international and regional cooperation towards sustained efforts for a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, based increasingly on infrastructure connectivity within the Heart of Asia Region and enhanced economic ties.
33. We appreciate the continued efforts by the OIC and Afghanistan including the generous donations of Member States of the OIC Assistance Fund for Afghanistan, which does an effective and results-oriented contribution for the development in Afghanistan and the appeal from the Secretary General to all Member States to enhance the capacity of the Fund so it would have a visible effect in assisting the Afghan people. We welcome the International Ulema Conference on peace and security in Afghanistan held on 10th July 2018 in Jeddah and Makkah Al-Mukarramah and hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to contribute to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. We also appreciate Secretary General’s efforts and renewed mandate to promote peace in Afghanistan in every possible way and the proposal in the 3/44 POL Resolution of the 44th and the 45th of Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC reiterated in the relevant resolutions of the 45th and 46th CFM as well as the 14th. OIC Summit held in Makkah on 31 May 2019 for the establishment of an Islamic University in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, and welcome the proposal to hold a donor conference to contribute resources for funding this important OIC project. The establishment of this University could contribute toward the promotion of education, de-radicalization and peace building in Afghanistan.
34. We welcome the trilateral meeting of religious scholars from Afghanistan, Indonesia and Pakistan held on 11 May 2018, calling on all fighting factions to lay down their arms, endorsing a peace process and condemning terrorist acts and suicide bombings as un-Islamic.
35. We welcome the completion of the first cycle of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan Foreign Ministers Dialogue held in Beijing (2017), Kabul (2018) and Islamabad (2019) respectively. This tri-lateral focuses on important areas of political mutual trust and reconciliations; development cooperation and connectivity; and security cooperation and counter-terrorism.
Role of the United Nations
36. We recognize the central and impartial role of the United Nations in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and express our appreciation for all efforts of the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for Afghanistan through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
37. We also acknowledge the significance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and its subsequent resolutions on the role of women in conflict prevention, peace negotiations and post-conflict processes in the Heart of Asia region. We welcome steps taken by the Government of Afghanistan to implement its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and to promote the active and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of the peace process.
Confidence Building Measures & the Guidelines
38. Realizing the importance of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) as the key elements for enhancing trust and practical political, security and economic cooperation in the HoA-IP, the HoA-IP participating countries recommend to continue the implementation of the CBMs. The HoA-IP participating countries also welcome the revision of the CBM implementation plans conducted by the co-chairs and the lead-countries with a view to make them more effective, relevant and consistent with the current needs and priorities of Afghanistan and the region. In this regard, the HoA-IP participating countries endorse the revised CBM Implementation Plans which are recommended to be implemented by the Participating Countries of the HoA-IP. Supporting states note their interest in reviewing and voluntarily endorsing one or more of the priority areas of the CBMs and supporting their implementations.
39. We express our appreciation to the lead countries for convening of the Regional Technical Group (RTG) meetings and implementation of the activities organized in the framework of the CBMs by Pakistan in June, Iran in August, Afghanistan in September, India in September, Russia in October, UAE in November 2018 and Turkmenistan in February and November 2019. We request the lead countries of CBMs to hold their RTG meetings regularly as decided in Beijing (2014) and in Islamabad (2015) HoA-IP Ministerial Declarations. We also call upon participating and supporting countries to collaborate closely to implement prioritized activities under the CBMs of which they are members. We particularly urge the lead countries to encourage the implementation of prioritized activities of each CBM with the assistance of supporting countries and organizations.
40. We appreciate the valuable support of the international community to the HoA-IP. In this context, we look forward to continued contributions of the supporting countries and organizations to realize the implementation of activities prioritized under each CBM.
41. We welcome the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process 2017 Annual Report. We encourage participating countries and supporters to consider the recommendations it proposes for more effective implementation of the CBMs, including assignment of permanent national focal points and consideration of funding program for implementation of CBMs.
42. Participating Countries endorse the Implementation Plan for Agriculture Development Confidence Building Measure (AD-CBM) proposed by co-chairs and agreed by our Senior Officials. We also welcome Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan’s willingness to lead the (AD-CBM).
43. Given the challenges of climate change and the importance of necessary measures in addressing its impact on the HoA region, Participating Countries agree to broaden the scope of the Disaster Management CBM to also include environmental protection. We, therefore, approve for this CMB to become Disaster Management and Environmental Protection, and its implementation plan will be reviewed accordingly for the approval of Ministerial Conference next year.
44. Participating Countries also endorse the guidelines for the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process and considers them helpful in its proceedings. The guidelines will be an open document and can be evolved on the basis of the consensus and approval of the participating countries.
45. We task our Senior Officials to hold the first 2020 Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of this process, within three months of this Conference, to implement and follow up on the decisions made in this conference.
46. We express our sincere appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Turkey for hosting the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the HoA-IP in Istanbul. We welcome the Republic of Tajikistan as the co-chair of the process and for hosting the 9th Ministerial Conference in 2020.
47. We welcome the presence of guest organizations UNODC, UNRCCA, UNDP, Turkic Council and International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation in this Conference and appreciate their participation and interest in the HoA-IP.
48. This Declaration was adopted in Istanbul on 9 December 2019 by the Foreign Ministers and high-level representatives of the participating countries of the HoA-IP: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Republic of India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Russian Federation, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Republic of Uzbekistan.
49. This Declaration was welcomed by the high-level representatives of the following supporting countries and supporting regional and international organizations at the Conference: Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Finland, Republic of France, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Iraq, Republic of Italy, Japan, Republic of Poland, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdome of Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the United Nations (UN).