Peace at home, peace in the world

Follow the ministry:

Address by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process, 26 April 2013, Almaty

His Excellency President Nazarbayev,
Minister Resul, Minister Idrisov,
Esteemed Colleagues,
Distinguished Participants,

I would like to begin with expressing my gratitude to President Nursultan Nazarbayev for honouring our Conference with his presence.] I would [also] like to thank Kazakhstan for hosting this important event.

It is a matter of great pleasure for me to address this third Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process, which marks one and a half years since we gathered in Istanbul to define a regional cooperation platform with Afghanistan at its center, engaging regional countries in political dialogue and practical cooperation.

As the previous co-chairman of the Istanbul Process, I am proud to note that, despite the initial hesitation and skepticism shown by many, significant progress was made on all three main aspects of the Process in the short time since its inception.

At the Kabul Ministerial Conference last year, we had identified these aspects as implementing confidence building measures (CBMs), enhancing regional dialogue and creating synergies among regional organizations and initiatives.

Today, the implementation plans of all six CBMs, which were prioritized for implementation in Kabul just ten months ago, are ready to be put into effect.

A considerable level of collective effort went into the preparation of the implementation plans. Through six Senior Officials Meetings and numerous technical experts meetings held since the Kabul Ministerial, the Participating Countries worked tirelessly to lay down plans towards a common vision: A peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan anchored in a secure and stable region.

These regular meetings, geared towards a common goal, provide us with the opportunity to improve understanding and trust. As such, they are in themselves the manifestation of progress in terms of enhancement of political dialogue.

Esteemed Colleagues,

It has been emphasized from the start that, the Istanbul Process does not compete with any regional organization. It makes a point of ensuring complementarity with their work.

There has been welcome interaction between the Istanbul Process and such regional organizations as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and others.

Distinguished Participants,

Regional issues call for regional responses. The Istanbul Process is the response of the region to challenges faced by the region as a whole.

Our regional vision enables us to address such challenges with a determined spirit of responsibility and ownership.

Taking stock of the last one and a half years, I am assured that the Istanbul Process will continue in the same spirit of ownership, cooperation, dialogue and commitment, and be instrumental in establishing the favorable environment in which both Afghanistan and the countries of the region can prosper together.

In this regard, the implementation stage of the CBMs is important. Several countries, including Turkey, have already announced their readiness to host activities identified in the CBM implementation plans. As we shall build on the steps taken so far to deliver tangible results, contributions of the Supporter Countries in the implementation stage also bear significance.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Challenges faced by Afghanistan, are challenges faced by our region. Dealing with terrorism, extremism, and narcotics production and trafficking require concerted action.

Our regional security, stability and prosperity depend on our ability to address and overcome such challenges through coordinated efforts. This is the reason we have embarked on this Process with Afghanistan at its center. And this is also the reason we have developed CBMs on counter terrorism and narcotics among others.

Afghanistan is at a critical stage in its recent history. The next two years can be regarded as the formative years which will be decisive in how the next decade will unfold. Over the course of this period, it is important to increase achievements on the ground and to ensure that these gains are maintained.

Many challenges exist, but the international community should focus on the positive scenario for the future of the country. The ongoing Afghan-led reconciliation efforts and the presidential elections next year are crucial for lasting security and stability.

Challenges faced by Afghanistan require a comprehensive approach. Efforts in different fields will reinforce each other. A functioning economy is the cornerstone of long-term stability. Bringing prosperity to the Afghan people is essential. Our CBMs on regional infrastructure and on trade, commerce and investment opportunities will be instrumental in this regard.

Afghanistan has to build its own capacity in many respects. Yet, it also needs to cooperate with its neighbours and the international community to do this. That is how Afghanistan can tap into its potential for development. To that end, capacity-building should continue to be a major dimension of our efforts. We believe that our CBMs on education and disaster management will help build capacity in these crucial fields.

Esteemed Colleagues,

Action now will add momentum as we look to the challenges ahead. A region, that has Afghanistan firmly integrated in it, can face these challenges more confidently and effectively.

Finally, I would like to thank China for its announcement to host the next Ministerial Conference. I sincerely believe that, Chinese co-chairmanship with Afghanistan will ensure continued success of the Istanbul Process.

Turkey will continue to be in solidarity with Afghanistan and will continue to support Afghanistan in its efforts to establish security and stability.

Thank you.