27 September 2019 – New York
The second Senior Official Meeting of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process for this year was held in New York, the United States of America. The meeting was co-chaired by Idrees Zaman, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Sedat Önal, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey and was participated by the Senior Officials of the participating countries, supporting countries and supporting regional and international organizations.
The meeting started with the welcoming remarks of Deputy Foreign Minister Zaman who welcomed the participants and their support for the Process. While briefing the meeting about the recent political developments , he emphasized on the importance of this mechanism and regional cooperation for a prosperous region.
Deputy Foreign Minister Önal opened the meeting with his opening statement and stressed on the common interests of the region to work together for a better future. He also declared December 9, 2019 as the date for the Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process that will be held in the Republic of Turkey.
While calling the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process a great platform for establishing regional consensus on the Afghan Peace Process, he underscored any peace in Afghanistan should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
The participants were briefed about the recent developments in the Afghan Peace Process, and it was reiterated that it was for the Afghans to decide about the direction of the peace process in their country but given necessary collective support by the regional and international stakeholders.
The participants also welcomed the readiness and preparation of the Afghan Government to hold the Presidential Elections and called it a step further towards development of democracy in Afghanistan.
The participating and supporting countries along with the supporting organizations endorsed the Afghan people’s long desired peace that is led and owned by Afghanistan and called for direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to start soon. They collectively agreed that there are dividends in peace not only for Afghanistan but the entire region and beyond.
At the end, while condemning the increased level of violence against the innocent citizens of Afghanistan by the Taliban and their threats towards the elections, the participants accentuated that this is an important moment for Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government and called for the resumption of negotiations.