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Ghani seeks to bolster trade in Tashkent summit

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KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani participated on Friday in an international conference in Uzbekistan and met with high-ranking officials of several countries.

President Ghani addressed the international conference of Central and South Asia in Tashkent and called on officials of several countries such as Uzbekistan, India, US. He also spoke by telephone with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, his office said.

He discussed border security, trade, transit, and electricity transmission with his Uzbek counterpart Shaukat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of a conference in Tashkent on Thursday. In the meantime, Uzbekistan has pledged to reiterate any cooperation in the Afghan peace process.

Ghani also spoke with the White House’s internal security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall on Thursday about continued US cooperation with Afghanistan.

“In order to provide strong support for the future of Afghanistan, we need to do this for Afghans as well as for our public security,” Ms. Sherwood-Randall said Thursday after meeting with representatives of Central and South Asian countries.

On the sidelines of the conference, President Ghani also met with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar to discuss the continuation of cooperation between the two countries. During the meeting, the Indian foreign minister had promised to provide 150 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan.

President Ghani met with the foreign ministers of Russia and Kuwait. He also met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the conference.

The International Conference on Central and South Asia in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, focuses more on trade and economic cooperation. The two-day conference, which began on Thursday, is attended by 250 people, including representatives from 40 countries.

Uzbekistan is all set to host a two-day high-level meeting in the capital city of Tashkent on July 15 and 16 to discuss the ‘challenges and opportunities in Uzbekistan’.

Uzbekistan also expressed concerns about the war-torn situation in Afghanistan and wished it to be normalized soon.

First Deputy Director of Agency for Information and Mass Communications of Uzbekistan, Dilshod Saidjanov, said that Uzbekistan has had normal economic trade with Afghanistan, adding that economic development is the only way to make Afghanistan stronger and probably more peaceful.

Everyone wants better development in Afghanistan. We agree with other countries in Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia, that we want normal trade in the region,” said Saidjanov.

Around 250 participants and 40 delegates from different countries will take part in the discussion; the conference is titled “The International Conference on Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities”.

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