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Afghanistan and Pakistan

Gatineau, Quebec, March 29, 2010

G8 Foreign Ministers' Statement on Afghanistan
G8 Foreign Ministers Announce Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Region Prosperity Initiative

Backgrounder on Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Region Prosperity Initiative

Stability in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly in the border regions, is critical for regional and global security. Canada and our G8 partners are all investing heavily in helping the Government of Afghanistan build a peaceful and stable state, one that will never again become a haven for terrorists.

At the London Conference on Afghanistan at the end of January, President Karzai committed to combating corruption and to increasingly assume responsibility for security, basic services and democratic governance. In Gatineau, we will discuss how we can support the Afghan Government to achieve these objectives.

For its part, the Government of Pakistan is also taking measures to root out extremists, but it faces its own political, economic and social challenges.

Well-managed borders are key to long-term economic development, as well as to long-term stability and security. Improving the socio-economic situation in the border areas is an important step in building community resilience against violent extremism.

Over the past three years, Canada has facilitated a dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan – called the Dubai Process — to bring border officials from these countries together to make real and practical steps in addressing the challenges in that border region. This process promotes cooperation in the areas of customs, managing the movement of people, counter-narcotics and law enforcement. We want to build on this effort, to see how we can help increase trade between the two countries and build regional stability.

G8 foreign ministers have been engaged on Afghanistan since 2001, and have focused specifically on the regional dimension since Potsdam in 2007 when, under Germany’s presidency and jointly with the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the G8 announced a commitment to focus on the border region.

To help fulfil this commitment, the G8 Coordination Arrangement was launched by G8 foreign ministers in Kyoto in 2008, during the Japanese presidency. The Arrangement was designed to enable the G8 to act as a convening force to bring together a broad range of actors to discuss issues in the border region. Meetings of the Arrangement have been convened regularly by Italy in 2009 and by Canada in 2010.

Source: Muskoka 2010 G8 [Official website]

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