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Constructive Engagement Key to Regional Security

Constructive Engagement Key to Regional SecurityConstructive Engagement Key to Regional Security

Iran’s top diplomat said “constructive” engagement among regional nations is crucial to the effective handling of security challenges confronting West Asia and establishing lasting peace in the region. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the statement in his address to an international conference on security and sustainable development in Central Asia on Friday, IRNA reported.

The two-day conference in the Uzbek city of Samarkand was attended by high-level delegations from Asia, Europe and Americas.

Zarif said countries cannot buy security from outside the region in the inextricably linked world of today, regretting that some governments have been fooled by big powers that have commercialized security. The foreign minister was apparently alluding to Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich kingdom that spends a huge part of its revenues to purchase US weaponry.

“The age of depending on military power to protect security in just one country has come to an end. This is what trans-regional powers meddling in the affairs of the region and those who threaten others’ security to guarantee their own security have learned in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan,” he said. Zarif noted that regional countries ought to engage in wide-ranging consultations and collaboration to be able to tackle the serious threats of extremism and terrorism facing the region, particularly Central Asia.

“Apart from fighting the scourge in the battlefields, regional states should join hands to trace the origins of the spread of terrorism, its ideological grounds and sponsors of terrorists in the region,” he said.

  Viable Framework

Zarif said Iran’s 2013 proposal for a World Against Violence and Extremism, which was overwhelmingly approved by the UN General Assembly, could be used to provide a suitable framework for collective cooperation in Central Asia against terrorist outfits. The top diplomat said Iran’s longstanding policy toward Central Asia has been to encourage regional nations to get closer and Tehran has worked hard to promote economic cooperation in the region.

“We believe improved security in our neighboring countries boosts our stability,” he said, adding that Tehran will continue to help promote peace in the region.

Zarif was in Uzbekistan as part of a Central Asia tour, which also took him to Tajikistan.

During his trip to Dushanbe on Wednesday, the Iranian foreign minister held meetings with high-ranking Tajik officials and discussed ways of improving bilateral economic and trade relations, and coordinating the two countries’ counterterrorism efforts.

 

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