Speaking upon arrival in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, Zarif said he is pleased to be visiting the country and attending the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process meeting where member states can work together on Afghanistan and help Kabul establish “lasting peace” and end fighting in the country.
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was launched in Istanbul in 2011 as a platform for promoting regional security, economic, and political cooperation centered on Afghanistan. The mechanism specifies dialogue and confidence-building measures as the main vehicles that it uses to implement the goals.
The Heart of Asia is comprised of 15 countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan Republic, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Heart of Asia supporters include the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Britain.
The previous meetings of the Heart of Asia conference have been held from 2011 to 2019 in Istanbul, Kabul, Almaty, Beijing, Islamabad, Amritsar, Baku and Istanbul.
Iran, Tajikistan to boost mutual cooperation
In his visit to Dushanbe, the Iranian foreign minister is also set to hold bilateral talks with Tajik officials.
In his comments upon arrival in Dushanbe, Zarif described Tajikistan as a “friendly and neighboring country where people speak the same language and have the same religion as Iranians.”
“Iran and Tajikistan enjoy age-old relations. I hope this trip will play a key role in boosting and expanding mutual cooperation on all fronts,” the top diplomat added.
In addition to attending and delivering a lecture at the conference and holding talks with Tajik officials, Zarif will also meet his counterparts from Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Azerbaijan.