On September 6, 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, with the support of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat hosted the 4th meeting of the regional technical groups of the "Regional Infrastructures" Confidence Building Measures (RI-CBM) of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.
Istanbul process, covering 14 participating countries, as well as 16 countries and 12 regional and international organizations that support its agenda, was set up in November 2011 as a platform to develop mechanisms to address regional issues through the prism of assistance in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Key areas of cooperation or confidence-building measures include such areas as the fight against terrorism, drug prevention and elimination of consequences of natural disasters, the development of regional cooperation in the field of infrastructure, trade and education.
Turkmenistan jointly with the Azerbaijan Republic led confidence-building measures "Regional Infrastructures" since 2012, which include the implementation of a number of major regional projects, including the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, railroad Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan and power lines.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, opening the meeting, quoted the words of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov: "Comprehensive support for the efforts of the international community to promote peace throughout the world, global security and sustainable development is a key vector of the foreign policy strategy of neutral Turkmenistan".
In her turn, the head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat Ms.Natalya Drozd in the message to the participants of the meeting noted that: "The long-term security and stability in Afghanistan have a direct impact on security in the OSCE region. The organization carries out various activities in support of regional initiatives put forward to address the issues of security in Afghanistan. This meeting was organized within the framework of the project of the Centre aimed at supporting the Government of Turkmenistan, in carrying out its role as co-chair of the Regional technical groups of the RI-CBM Istanbul Process. The Centre is ready to provide further support in this area".
Participants of the meeting stressed the significant contribution of Turkmenistan in the regional cooperation and practical steps to implement the above-mentioned infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. In particular, the representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India noted the leading role of Turkmenistan in the significant progress on the project of the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline.
The meeting also heard reports of national representatives on the ongoing work on the implementation of programs approved earlier in the RI-CBM, as well as exchanged views on improving the efficiency of interaction between countries and international organizations in their implementation, which will be reflected in the proposals for the agenda at the future meetings.
Assistance in organizing the meeting of Regional technical groups of the "Regional infrastructures» Confidence-building measures (RI-CBM) of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan is part of the OSCE Centre’s extra-budgetary project, funded by the United States of America.