KABUL - President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, on Friday vowed to accelerate efforts at countering terrorism in their two neighboring countries.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the third quadrilateral summit of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Russian Federation that took place in Dushanbe, a statement issued from the Presidential Palace said.
Karzai, heading a high level official delegation, on Thursday traveled to Tajikistan to join his Tajik, Russian and Pakistani counterparts at the summit that requested the ministries of the economy and other agencies in the four countries to accelerate the preparation of "road maps" for long-term cooperation.
Such steps should be taken in the interests of trading and economic relations of the four states, said a joint declaration issued at the end of the meeting.
Among the main areas of cooperation are "aviation, road and rail links, regional energy needs, modernization of obsolete industries and creation of new ones and a favorable investment climate."
The document also states that the heads of state, "affirming and encouraging the attraction of investments into such sectors as energy, transport, communications, construction, mining, chemistry, food and other industries, as well as into the agricultural sector, recommend the establishment of direct contacts between businesses of their countries. "
The four presidents said that "the further development and expansion of transit and transportation corridors promotes regional trade, increases foreign investment and facilitates joint cooperation projects." In this regard, the summit's participants believe it is important to speed up the implementation of projects for connecting the railways and roads in the region.
Karzai and Zardari also discussed issues concerning economic development, and trade and problems in the implementation of the recently revised transit trade agreement between the two countries.
Karzai stressed the need for improved regional cooperation, which he believed would play a key role in their countries' development.
"Fundamentalism and violence originated from terrorism are the basic problems behind instability in the region," Karzai was quoted as saying in the statement.
The president also said that terrorism was a big challenge for the region. "I hope that Pakistan will honestly continue to cooperate with the Afghan High Peace Council and we value Pakistan's cooperation in this regard," Karzai said.
Zardari assured Karzai of all kind of assistance in making the reconciliation program a success. President Karzai also met with Tajikistani president, Emomali Rahmon.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Rahmon noted that the meeting could be called "fruitful and efficient." "Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia have good economic and energy potentials and we must use them efficiently," Tajik leader noted.