Regional summit: Russia offers to pour money into Af-Pak energy projects

The four nations also agreed to work more closely to combat extremism and drug trafficking.


Agencies September 02, 2011

DUSHANBE:



Russia on Friday lamented a lack of progress in joint energy projects with Pakistan and Afghanistan that could help bring stability to the volatile region as President Dmitry Medvedev met his counterparts for a security summit.


Meeting his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai for a four-way summit that also included Tajikistan, Medvedev said Russia was ready to invest “millions of dollars” in the joint energy projects.

“There’s a whole range of projects that have been on the table for a long time which have seen no movement forward and which should be implemented,” Medvedev said in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

(Read: No progress in Pakistan, Afghanistan eco projects, says Medvedev)

“It is time to move from words to deeds,” he said, referring to a project codenamed CASA-1000, whose aim will be sending power from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a transnational gas pipeline.

Speaking in Dushanbe, Medvedev said Russia was ready to invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” into the CASA-1000 project that could send 1,000 megawatts of electricity annually from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“But for it to happen, necessary organisational decisions should be taken first, we have to be invited,” Medvedev told reporters after the talks. He also confirmed Russia’s interest in a key transnational gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.

The four leaders also adopted a joint declaration stressing the importance of linking their countries through modern highways and railroads.

“The immediate focus has to be on increasing connectivity,” Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters.

“When this comes, investment comes after that.” She stressed Islamabad was keen to strengthen its Soviet-era ties with Moscow. “There has been historical investment in Pakistan which is still known as Russian investment and we want to give further boost to that,” she said.

Afghan withdrawal

The four countries also urged the Nato-led coalition in Afghanistan to step up the training of local security forces as it completes its planned staged withdrawal.

“The heads of state emphasise that reduction of foreign military presence in Afghanistan should be accompanied by adequate increase of efforts by the participants of the international coalition for training and arming Afghan national security structures,” the leaders’ joint statement said. The four nations also agreed to work closely to combat extremism and drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime.

(Read: Whither Afghanistan?)

Medvedev told reporters, “I believe all of my colleagues are united on one issue: the responsibility for what is happening in our region will in the final account inevitably rest with our countries – Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Zardari meets Afghan, Tajik president

President Asif Ali Zardari proposed a trilateral trade agreement to include Tajikistan along the line of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement.

(Read: Zardari arrives in Tajikistan, seeks trade, energy, and anti-terror relations)

Meanwhile, President Zardari also met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon at the Qasr-e-Millat, Dushanbe, on Thursday to discuss matters relating to bilateral relations, the regional situation and common challenges.



Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2011.

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COMMENTS (14)

Samia Yaqoob | 9 years ago | Reply

The quadrilateral summit of Pakistan, Russia, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in Dushanbe seems to be acquiring a regular character. Last August, President Medvedev had hosted it in Sochi. Next year it is Pakistan’s turn in Islamabad. As is usual at such international moots, they provide opportunities for the participants to have bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the main action, which often are productive. For example, Wisely Presidents Zardari and Karzai took the opportunity to discuss Pak-Afghan relations, the transit trade agreement between the two countries, security and mutual cooperation. The atmospherics, body language of all the leaders and the obvious friendliness and bonhomie point to the quadrilateral process acquiring a dynamic that is the obvious need of the countries concerned, as well as the region as a whole. There is a visible tectonic shift away from the western ‘interlopers’ to regional arrangements for mutually beneficial security and economic cooperation. More power to their Excellencies’ elbows. President Zardari’s recent visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia can be seen in this prospective. His efforts to bring regional powers on same table are laudable that are not only fruitful for Pakistan but for the peace of entire region and world. Also these visits are crucial for two major reason one to save Pakistan from Isolation and second to increase the trade for a strong economy. Indeed Zardari is doing a great job in building foreign relations and development for Pakistan. They form a good neighbourhood team indeed. Credit should be given where it is due.Well done Zardari!

Nasir | 9 years ago | Reply

@Dr. A,K,Tewari: Typical Indian Psyche. Pulling India unnecessarily in every news of Pakistan.

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