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Empty promises not enough to tackle security threats: CEO

KABUL: There are tangible economic benefits for regional partners of South and Central Asia to engage in increased trade, transit, transport, energy transfer and investment along new pathways being developed, the chief executive officer (CEO) said on Friday.

Afghanistan stands at the crossroads, as part of the roundabout, a key hub and a land bridge for the realisation of connectivity, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said in his closing remarks at an international conference here.

“We are working on eliminating the threats to security and stability in the form of terrorism, radicalism and narcotics. We appreciate the international effort to combat these threats,” he told the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VI).

Seeking concrete measures to battle terrorism in all its manifestations, the CEO remarked empty promises were not enough to deal with terrorism. “We are paying a high price, but we are united in our aim to address the menace in all its forms.

“We need your cooperation, as you need ours, to bolster our defences and protect our people, and the well-being of our social, political and economic institutions,” he said.

RECCA had moved into a new era, becoming regional in perspective and pragmatic in its approach to economic cooperation and integration, he said, adding collective endeavors had led the forum closer to project implementation thresholds.

He praised Turkmenistan for hosting the next round of RECCA to be held in Ashgabat. He cited initiatives to modernise and expand projects in the transport, energy and trade sectors – from Russia and Kazakhstan to Turkey and the Persian Gulf region on the one side, and to China and India on the other.

The CEO noted the re-emergence of multiple new Silk Roads, saying they should complement each other and lead to land and maritime connectivity. Finalization of the Lapis Lazuli and Five Nation Railway corridors will help realise that objective.

The near-completion of the CASA1000 energy project, which will add to our power capacity is an example of win-win regional cooperation.

Although some of the mega projects that are listed in the annex of the RECCA Main Document are of longer-term significance, and will be dealt with in due time. “In other words, these projects represent the low-hanging fruits that need to be harvested by the regional partners.”

The Afghan government welcomed the ongoing realisation of five economic corridors in the region, he said, explaining each had the potential to unlock regional economic capacities. (PAN)

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