‘Neutrality is way forward for regional cooperation’


Maintaining neutrality was identified as the key factor amid cautious optimism for the interdependent regional cooperation in a rapidly changing regional dynamics, Wednesday in an international conference on “Prospects of Trilateral Cooperation between Pakistan, Afghanistan & Iran”.

“Stay out of blocs and camps,” emphasized Ambassador Sherry Rehman. The founding chair of the Jinnah Institute said, “That’s what we really need to do. The world is all changed now.”

Highlighting the role of Germany as “extremely important” in developing regional scenario, Senator Mushahid Hussian Sayed said, “The neighborhood has common vision for future which is extremely important.”

“It’s encouraging that Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan are cooperating and promoting business,” chief guest Ambassador Cyrill Nunn, envoy of Federal Republic of Germany said in his keynote speech, adding, “It helps build bridges.”

Sayed observed that South Asia is no longer restricted to the seven nations, but “the greater South Asia includes China, Afghanistan and Iran as well, as an observer.” Sayed foresee, “2014 & 2015 will be extremely important in shaping the destiny of the region.”

Ambassador Cyrill Nunn said, “Pakistan is seriously committed to stable relations with Afghanistan.” The German envoy stressed, “Without growing mutual trust journey to peaceful cooperation is not possible.”

The international conference was organized by Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) in collaboration with German foundation Konrad Adenauer Stifung (KAS) and was participated by professionals, diplomats and eminent scholars from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to explore the prospects of trilateral cooperation in the post 2014 Afghanistan drawdown scenario.

“Defining moment is in shaping the cooperation,” CISS Executive Director Ali Sarwar Naqvi said in his welcome address.

Ronny Heine, resident representative of KAS said, “The conference is aimed at creating awareness”, the trilateral summit process has already provided. “It is the need of the hour to increase trade as well as exploring possibilities of barter trade,” Heine emphasized.

Responding to a querry in an interactive session Senator Mushahid Hussain rooted his optimism in emerging trilateral cooperation saying, “There is no fundamental conflict of interest between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, so the relations would improve.”

Ambassador Nunn said, “Our reading on Afghanistan is not pessimistic one, which is based on facts, because we are not agreeing on many doomsday prophecies.”

The conference focused on specific regional political dynamics, security imperatives and economic cooperation scenarios.